Creative Lives is managing a major new grants scheme for voluntary creative groups in England, as part of the Know Your Neighbourhood Fund created by the UK Government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport

Know Your Neighbourhood aims to increase volunteering, tackle loneliness, and improve community wellbeing in priority areas across England. Creative Lives is distributing 16 partnership awards and 44 project awards throughout the two-year programme, totalling nearly £750,000 of new investment in everyday creativity.   

Margate Pride bandstand

The Know Your Neighbourhood projects will be closely followed to evaluate the impact of everyday creative activity on combating loneliness and increasing wellbeing. Creative Lives will share the important learning and robust evidence gathered from this fund across the sector in due course.

Robin Simpson, Chief Executive of Creative Lives said:Creative Lives is a national charity that celebrates, encourages and champions people expressing themselves creatively in their everyday lives and practising their creativity socially with other people. We are excited to see how our Know Your Neighbourhood Awards will deepen public understanding of how and why being creative with other people can decrease loneliness and increase wellbeing.”

The Creative Lives Know Your Neighbourhood grants are part of a wider fund which will see up to £30 million of UK Government funding distributed across 27 disadvantaged areas. The fund aims to create volunteering opportunities and support people who are experiencing, or at risk of, chronic loneliness. Grants will support volunteers and participants to take part in a wide range of activities such as talking cafes, skills-sharing sessions, arts and crafts groups and environmental conservation. 

Recent research has found that those living in the most deprived areas are more likely to report feeling lonely, as well as being less likely to volunteer. Research has also shown that loneliness is closely linked with mental health and wellbeing, and that certain types of volunteering opportunities can help connect communities and help people develop skills and grow their networks.

In a recent DCMS review, capturing the effectiveness of loneliness interventions, they found that arts and culture was the second most effective, topped only by psychological interventions. You can read more about the DCMS review here.

The 27 areas that the Know Your Neighbourhood Fund is being distributed within are: Barnsley, Barrow-in-Furness, Blackpool, Bolsover, Burnley, Cannock Chase, County Durham, Doncaster, Fenland, Great Yarmouth, Halton, Hartlepool, King’s Lynn and West Norfolk, Kingston upon Hull, Knowsley, Middlesbrough, Rochdale, Sandwell, South Tyneside, Stoke-on-Trent, Sunderland, Tameside, Tendring, Thanet, Torridge, Wakefield, and Wolverhampton.

You can read more about the Know Your Neighbourhood Fund on the UK Government’s website.

[Photo credits: Banner - North East Opera by David Pisaro; Margate Pride by Mia Pollak]