Over £60,000 Grant Funding Awarded to York Charities and Community Groups

Nineteen York-based charities, social enterprises, voluntary and community groups have today (17th August) been awarded grant funding by York CVS, Make It York and City of York Council to support a range of new initiatives for York residents. Spanning a diverse range of creative art forms and social activities the grants will support everything from fairy trails and community coffee mornings to youth theatre workshops, excavation projects, craft workshops and creative cafes.  

Receiving awards of up to £5000 each, the new cultural and social prescribing grants support organisations across York’s voluntary and community sector with initiatives designed to boost physical and mental wellbeing. In a collaboration between York CVS, Make It York and City of York Council, a total fund of over £60,000 was made available for organisations to 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.  

For the first time the grant application process brought together two funding streams made available by the Better Care Fund. This included 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 projects which are set to be funded jointly through this initiative, by Make It York and City of York Council, and by York CVS include: 

  • Accessible Arts & Media – ‘Movers & Shakers’ – offering a weekly music, movement and social session for adults with complex needs from across the city. Activities include musical and theatrical games, dancing, singing and signing, playing different musical instruments, and writing songs, stories and music.  
  • Explore York Libraries – ‘Creative Cafés at Acomb Explore and The Centre@Burnholme’ – giving people the opportunity to participate in and explore different creative activities in the company of two professional artists, helping them to discover hidden and new skills and develop confidence and self-esteem in a relaxed, friendly café environment. 
  • Foss Fairy Trail – a collaboration with the Groves Association Flower Power York to revive a riverside walk along a section of the Foss. Offering a creative approach to enhance the serene green refuge of the river the fairy trail and wildlife walk will provide much needed joy after a year of lockdown. 
  • Kyra’s Women’s Project’ ‘Culture for Confidence’ – a programme of creative arts (crafts, reading, writing, etc) open to all women in York regardless of their experience, ability, or education. 
  • Thunk-It Theatre – ‘Common Ground: Back in the Room’ – engaging with participants aged 16-25 and 50+ in The Groves area who have been affected by isolation and loneliness through a series of workshops that explore creative communication, such as letter writing and postcard creation.  
  • St Nicks – ‘Nature Connectedness for Wellbeing’ – coordinating a group of green organisations to increase the number and diversity of people engaging with creative nature connectedness opportunities for mental wellbeing in York. 
  • Converge ‘Converge Connected: Remote Access to Cultural Education for Adults with Mental Health Problems’ – delivering six accessible courses (on writing, art, humanities, theatre and music) by post, through a specially designed website and virtual learning environment (LearnDash), and via Zoom sessions. 
  • Next Door But One CIC  – ‘Keeping Hold of Creativity: Maintaining Artistic Skills and Connections Post COVID’ – delivering a series of youth theatre workshops for secondary school age young carers and for 14-25 year olds who identify as LGBTQ+ and running ‘Playback Theatre’ training workshops for adults with mental health problems.  
  • Club Wilber (part of the Wilberforce Trust) – ‘Where’s Wilber?’ – offering a combination of online and Covid safe activities designed to boost the mental wellbeing for families of children with severe sight loss.  

The Cultural Wellbeing Grant programme led by Make It York and City of York Council will also support these additional initiatives: 

  • York Archaeological Trust – ‘Archaeology on Prescription’ – an inclusive, accessible 18-week excavation project based within the city walls at Willow House on Walmgate which will  benefit the communities in York by delivering innovative opportunities and partnerships that target improving people’s mental health, skills and employment prospects.  
  • York Museums Trust – ‘Hull Road Heritage Hunters’ – in partnership with York Explore and CYC Local Area Coordinators to help people research the history of where they live and celebrate it with their neighbours – including creating a pop-up exhibition which can tour local schools and community groups, and a public engagement event in the community.  
  • Pilot Theatre (in partnership with SBC (Stand & Be Counted) Theatre) – ‘Creative Connections with Sanctuary-Seekers’ – bringing together local artists, cultural and community organisations, and families with lived experience of seeking sanctuary, in a series of creative activities in York. 
  • Friends of Rowntree Park – ‘Community Crafting in the Park’ – bringing together local residents to create a community art installation in Rowntree Park via workshops, outreach craft and regular “Knit and Natter” community groups. 
  • ‘The Artery For Health’ led by heritage and cultural learning consultant Karen Merrifield – delivering workshops in a peer-to-peer support format to inform healthcare professionals, artists, patients and York Hospital Arts Team. 

In addition these further initiatives will be supported by funding from Ways to Wellbeing, including:  

  • Haxby & Wigginton Youth & Community Association – ‘Pop Inn Club’ – offering weekly coffee mornings to support isolated and/or vulnerable members of Haxby and Wigginton to return to social situations following the COVID19 pandemic.  
  • Home-Start York – ‘New Parents Group’ – face-to-face groups supporting new, first-time parents who are experiencing challenges, with particular emphasis around loneliness, isolation and the negative effects of the pandemic. 
  • Smooth Moves Lab – led by Feldenkrais Method practitioner Julie Wrigley – will run two programmes of ‘Awareness Through Movement’ lessons. Feldenkrais and is particularly helpful for people living with chronic pain, chronic fatigue, back pain, tension and stress as it re-educates the brain without tiring the muscles. ‘Mindful Moves At Home’ are online group sessions, and ‘Mindful Moves: Moving On’ are in-person group sessions. 
  • The Conservation Volunteers – ‘Hull Road Park Coffee mornings’ – providing opportunities for local people in the Hull and Heworth wards to come together and socialise while learning about local wildlife. 
  • Central Methodist Church – ‘Place of Welcome’ – part of a national network of local community groups that provide their neighbourhoods with places where all people feel safe to connect, belong and contribute. 

Helen Apsey, Head of Culture and Wellbeing at Make It York said: “We received a large number of grant applications of a very high standard, and it’s been incredibly rewarding to be able to award funding to such a diverse range of projects as a result – from theatre and crafting, through to learning about local history and taking part in excavations.  

Working with City of York Council and with York CVS this year meant we could really broaden our reach, and support many more projects – providing more opportunities for residents to get involved locally in wonderful arts and heritage initiatives. A central focus of the York Culture Strategy is to enable residents to easily access cultural and creative initiatives to support their mental, physical and emotional wellbeing and these projects provide some great opportunities for that. We can’t wait to see how they develop over the coming months.” 

Cllr Darryl Smalley, Executive Member for Culture, Leisure & Communities at City of York Council, said: “These grants will provide essential support to some incredible local organisations. Their projects support the physical, emotional and mental wellbeing of York residents, connecting communities and groups that will benefit hugely from these opportunities. The broad range of organisations that have been successful is testament to the amazing work of volunteers and groups across the city, helping to make York a supportive home to everyone.” 

Emily Abbott, Ways to Wellbeing Project Lead at York CVS, said: “Ways to Wellbeing doesn’t just deliver social prescribing. An important part of our work is to grow social prescribing locally by widening and diversifying the range of support and activity available. That means supporting local VCSE organisations to deliver projects that support local people’s wellbeing, connecting people, communities and groups. We are delighted with the mix of new and well-established organisations we have been able to fund, delivering a really wide variety of projects – some quite niche, some much broader. All will help fill gaps in provision we know exist in York, and we are very excited to work with all our grant recipients and watch their projects grow. 

Find out more about York’s Culture Strategy ‘York’s Creative Future’ here: www.makeityork.com/culture . 


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: https://www.yorkcvs.org.uk/social-prescribing-in-york/ 

For further information about Ways to Wellbeing please contact Emily Abbott: emily.abbott@yorkcvs.org.uk 

For further information please contact: 

Amy Goodman – Consumer Communications Manager 
Email: amy.goodman@makeityork.com 

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