The National Lottery Community Fund has committed over £650m to fund community spaces in association with third parties over the last five years, according to a new report.
The report, titled Connections Make Communities, highlights the key improvements and additions the £650m funding has made between 2016 and 2021.
Funding has secured 10,000 new community spaces, defined as ‘all of the physical and service-level provision that allows a community to function’, to open up across the five years, whilst £71m has been put towards helping communities to own new beneficial assets.
Faiza Khan MBE, Director of Engagement and Insight at The National Lottery Community Fund, said: “This report highlights the impact money invested into community assets has on people’s lives across the UK.
“Places like village halls, community cafés and leisure centres are at the heart of our communities and provide a focal point for people to come together, make connections and build friendships and support networks.
These spaces play a vital role in helping communities to prosper and thrive and will be more important than ever as communities rebuild from the pandemic.”
Over 900 new accessible entry points have been installed into community spaces, allowing disabled people access to those beneficial community venues.
Furthermore, over £100,000 has been placed towards helping local markets and village hall committees remain open. More than 350 village halls were saved across Hertfordshire and Worcestershire and over 1500 village halls have received National Lottery funding.
“Village halls are lifelines and can often be one of the few places people can come together and participate in activities”, added Mark Herriott, General Manager at Community First.
Finally, the fund has helped communities throughout the pandemic via the COVID-19 Community Led Organisations Recovery Scheme in England. The scheme received 1,751 applications, making 302 grants worth a combined £9.3m to help community enterprises keep running and provide essential community infrastructure and services.