Making the case for Space to Connect

Independent Arts the Newport based charity that uses the arts to improve wellbeing, quality of life and to reduce social isolation has been awarded £8,000 from ‘Space to Connect’, a partnership between the Co-op Foundation, and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

Independent Arts will use the grant to hold a series of creative and accessible community consultations to make the case for a shared community space. It is one of 57 organisations across England to receive a grant from the £1.6million partnership, designed to help communities tackle loneliness by improving and protecting local spaces that bring people together.

Space to Connect follows commitments made in the Government’s Civil Society and Loneliness Strategies, published in 2018, to help create community hubs and spaces where they are most needed.

Kate Ball, Chief Executive of Independent Arts, said: “We see daily through our project work with isolated individuals the effects that having a welcoming and supportive space to socialise and to meet others can bring. For some people, attending our community activities is the only chance they have to get out of the house and as such common spaces are vital to reducing social isolation.”

Minister for Civil Society, Baroness Barran, said: “Strong communities play a crucial role in tackling loneliness and social isolation. This £1.6 million worth of funding will create and enhance local spaces that bring people together, encouraging them to make new and lasting friendships. It is part of our ongoing commitment to work hand in hand with local communities to build a shared, integrated and socially responsible society.”

Jim Cooke, Head of the Co-op Foundation, said: “Our Space to Connect partnership with Government builds on our commitment to strengthen communities and tackle loneliness through co-operation.

“Grants awarded today will empower people to work together to make better use of spaces to address local challenges, improving the well-being and skills of their whole community.”

Space to Connect was launched in June 2019, at the same time as Co-op’s Endangered Spaces campaign to protect, support and improve 2,000 community spaces by 2022.