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More funding to help communities during cost of living crisis

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Our Growing Communities Fund (GCF) is making a real difference, giving a helping hand to local communities during the cost-of-living crisis.

So far, we’ve awarded more than £250,000 to local projects, many of which are helping communities cope with the sharp increase in food prices and heating bills.

And now we have committed a further £200,000 and we are inviting applications for projects that support communities and help them to become more resilient.

We’ve pledged the extra funding in response to the fastest rise in the cost of living for 40 years – the cost of food increased by 14.6 per cent in the year to September, reaching its highest level since 1980.

Many of the 128 projects that we have helped so far directly help communities to cope with these financial pressures.

These include projects that offer local people a warm safe haven, produce food, distribute surplus food and essentials, food banks and classes showing communities how to cook nutritious meals on a budget.

But regardless of the activity every group we have given or pledged money to has one thing in common – a willingness to build self-reliance and resilience within a community.

The Sweetpea Small Holdings in Exeter for instance grows fresh food like fruit, vegetables, salad, and herbs in their allotments and community spaces.

They not only needed more space so they can grow more and therefore donate more to local food banks, but they wanted to be able to deliver food parcels directly to the most vulnerable.

And the Lewtrenchard Family Fund in Mid Devon is one of many projects that provide basic grocery items, donated by local people and shops, to families in need.  

The Kingsbridge Area Food Bank has over 100 unpaid volunteers and they not only gather donated food, but they cook and create ‘ready meals’, which they then deliver.

The Ashburton Community Fridge aims to set up public workshops to help people learn useful new skills.

The first workshop taught people how to make a “hot box or bag” which will be able to cook a stew in eight hours without using energy.

And the Blackdown Healthy Living and Activity Centre is one of many groups who offer a warm, safe space as the cold winter nights draw in, allowing people and families to sit quietly, read books, play board games, watch television, or simply chat with a volunteer.

Councillor Roger Croad, our Cabinet Member for Public Health, Communities and Equality, said:

“People right across the county are feeling the effect of the cost of living crisis with increased food prices and higher energy costs. We have seen how the Growing Communities Fund can provide vital support to local communities that make a genuine difference. I’m pleased to be able to announce more funding and we would particularly welcome applications for projects that support communities through the financial crisis, helping them to become more resilient, such as projects that help ensure communities are well nourished and kept warm.”

You can complete and submit the grants application form online.

For more information, please contact or telephoning 01392 383379.