Applications Now Open for New Social and Cultural Wellbeing Grants

York-based charities, social enterprises, voluntary and community groups are being urged to apply for a new cultural and social prescribing grant scheme – with an overall fund of £50,000 available. In a collaboration between York CVS, Make It York and City of York Council, organisations are being invited to apply for grants of up to £5000 to support initiatives that boost mental and physical wellbeing across the city and reduce isolation through cultural and social engagement.  

With applications open until 3rd August, organisations across the city can apply for funding for initiatives which help isolated people engage in their communities, combat mental ill-health, improve physical health, enable participation in culture and creativity or access to employment and learning opportunities. Funding can be used for a wide range of project costs – including everything from materials and venue hire to set up costs, marketing, transport and administration time.  

Bringing together two funding streams made available by the Better Care Fund, organisations can now be considered for both via one simple application process. This includes the ‘Ways to Wellbeing’ project from York CVS – the city’s first social prescribing project which supports health and wellbeing through building social connections in the community, and the Cultural Wellbeing Grant programme led by Make It York and City of York Council.  

The Cultural Wellbeing Grant scheme has already supported a range of York-based charities and community projects when funding of more than £12,000 was awarded to seven social and cultural initiatives in December 2020 as part of the launch of York’s Culture Strategy ‘York’s Creative Future’. Led by City of York Council and Make It York, the projects supported offered a diverse range of cultural engagement opportunities for York residents – with a particular focus on engaging with vulnerable and isolated members of the community.  Projects supported included Pilot Theatre’s ‘The Happiness Project’, Converge’s ‘Winter Warmers’, Musical Connections’ ‘Our Musical Family’, Dandelion Arts’ ‘Interconnected: York Story Circle’, St Nicks’ ‘Journey Through Winters Heart’York Dance Space’s ‘Mindful Movement’ and the Groves Artwalk.  

Helen Apsey, Head of Culture and Wellbeing at Make It York said: “Supporting people’s health and wellbeing through engagement with culture and creativity is really at the heart of York’s Culture Strategy. The last round of grant funding saw us support everything from mindfulness dance classes and online choirs through to crafting workshops, creative writing sessions and virtual theatre – and we’re looking forward to being able to work with even more initiatives this time round, that can support residents’ wellbeing and also help to reduce isolation.  The new streamlined application process with Ways To Wellbeing means it’s now even easier for organisations to apply for funding to help engage with communities across York.”   

Cllr Darryl Smalley, Executive Member for Culture, Leisure & Communities at City of York Council, said: “The Cultural Wellbeing Grant programme offers welcome support to local organisations, with the wellbeing and resilience of residents at their heart. These grants will build on the city’s extraordinary work to tackle isolation during lockdown and support mental health across the city, whilst giving an uplift to our amazing voluntary sector as it emerges from the pandemic. All applications will be very welcome.” 

Emily Abbott, Ways to Wellbeing Team Leader at York CVS, said: “We understand the precious time and energy that charities, social enterprises and community groups spend on seeking funding. By combining our two funding streams into one simple application process, we are freeing up those valuable resources.  

“This collaboration between Make It York, City of York Council and York CVS is a fantastic opportunity with a pragmatic approach, so don’t let inexperience put you off applying. Perhaps you’re a fishing club that wants to support isolated people to join you in the great outdoors? Or a neighbourhood group with a great idea for befriending local under 65’s who are feeling lonely? 

“Whatever your great idea, we welcome applicants who have never applied for funding before and encourage them to contact us if they have any questions”. 

For details of how to apply please go to Application process closes 9am, Tuesday 3rd August, 2021. 

Find out more about York’s culture strategy ‘York’s Creative Future’ here: . 


Notes to Editor 

Make It York  

Make It York’s purpose is to develop and promote the city and its surroundings – nationally and internationally – as a vibrant and attractive place to live, visit, study, work and do business.  The company’s remit covers leisure and business tourism, city centre management, festivals and events, business support and inward investment. 

One of Make It York’s strategic aims is to promote York as a brilliant place to do business, helping to support business growth and innovation across a range of business sectors, such as financial & professional services, rail and high value manufacturing and to stimulate greater inward investment. 

Ways to Wellbeing 

Social Prescribing is a term which means linking people to non-medical sources of support to improve people’s health and wellbeing.  
Ways to Wellbeing is an innovative social prescribing service that focuses on increasing access to social prescribing in York.   
Ways to Wellbeing is one of York’s two social prescribing schemes, both of which are run by York CVS. Read more here: 

For further information about Ways to Wellbeing please contact Emily Abbott: 

For further information please contact: 

Amy Goodman – Consumer Communications Manager 

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