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Northern Gas Networks and Northern Powergrid have together announced which community projects in Yorkshire will benefit from new funding from their joint annual Community Partnering Fund, delivered in partnership with Leeds Community Foundation.

The joint fund was set up to award grants to grassroots organisations that deliver pioneering and sustainable projects throughout Yorkshire. This latest round of grants totals more than £60k and has been made as part of a larger fund worth over £100k, which is distributed at two intervals each year.

This latest funding pot is the biggest yet, with 10 successful projects in Yorkshire awarded up to £10k each, enabling the groups to broaden their support for the local communities in which they work.

The Community Partnering Fund enables community groups to deliver schemes that tackle issues that are close to the hearts of Northern Powergrid and Northern Gas Networks, such as reducing fuel poverty, improving energy efficiency and safety know-how, and supporting projects that encourage more young people into science and technology subjects in schools and colleges, to help create a more diverse workforce as energy companies work to deliver a greener energy future for the region.

As well as providing a short-term funding boost, the aim is to find organisations which can become long-term partners, by working with groups who are embedded in their local communities.

Projects to receive funding range from a programme that aims to equip residents with the knowledge and confidence to prepare healthy, nutritious food on a budget; a group which will train a cohort of Energy Champions, to a project reducing social isolation through a shared allotment space, demonstrating the possibilities and savings that can be made when growing your own vegetables.

The groups that have received funding grants are as follows:

Bradford Study Support Network – £4,900.00
Based in Bradford city centre, Bradford Study Support Network is a voluntary organisation that was set up in 1994 to provide educational support and development. It was established to increase learning and skills, address barriers to learning and promote social inclusion within Bradford’s disadvantaged communities, for individuals across all ages and abilities. The Network also aims to increase young people’s interest in science, technology, engineering and maths subjects at schools and college, through raising aspirations and providing role models. Find out more at www.bssn.org.uk

Selby Big Local – £6,125.00
Selby Big Local was originally set up with funding from the National Lottery Community Fund to support projects that benefit residents of all ages and from all backgrounds. It aims to tackle social isolation, improve people’s health and wellbeing, and create new opportunities for change. The grant from the Community Partnering Fund is specifically to support Community Fridge, a project that aims to equip residents with the knowledge and confidence to prepare healthy, nutritious food on a budget, while training a cohort of Energy Champions who will share advice on energy efficiency. Find out more at www.selbybiglocal.org.uk

Wakefield Scouts – £3,141.00
Although scouting has been affected by Covid-19 restrictions, Wakefield Scouts are planning activities for when their groups can meet again. The grant from the Community Partnering Fund will enable them to buy equipment that will be used to teach scouts across Wakefield about science and technology. http://www.wakefieldscouts.org.uk

Affinity 2020 CIC, Rotherham – £8,920.00
Affinity 2020 CIC is a not-for-profit Community Interest Company based in Rotherham, which supports children and young adults up to the age of 25 who have experienced life in care, including care leavers. The grant from the Community Partnering Fund will be used to fund a project with local teachers, training them to become highly skilled in understanding science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) related roles and providing STEM-related activities to encourage young people’s interest in these subjects. The funding will also support a ‘STEM for Looked After Children’ booklet to be produced and distributed nationally. Find out more on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/affinity2020/

That Friday Feeling, Leeds – £8,500.00
Gardening can be a great boost to both physical and mental health. That Friday Feeling works to reduce social isolation for people living in south Leeds through an allotment, demonstrating the possibilities for friendship, a shared hobby and savings that can be made when growing your own vegetables. This grant will enable the project to reach out to more people who could benefit from working on the allotment.

Growing Better CIC, Leeds – £4,887.00
Growing Better CIC is a social enterprise and ‘vertical urban farm’ in Leeds, dedicated to better mental health and wellbeing through urban farming activities. The Community Partnering Fund grant will enable Growing Better CIC to develop a set of projects aimed at primary school children, encouraging their interest in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects and based on the experiences and expertise of vertical urban farmers themselves. Find out more at https://growingbetter.co.uk/

Tangram Housing Co-operative, Leeds – £3,225.00
Tangram Housing Co-operative in Harehills, Leeds, is run by tenants, for tenants. The co-operative will use its Community Partnering Fund grant to provide hands-on educational sessions on how to carry out internal insulation works, as well as offering tenants information about saving on their fuel bills, how to protect their homes against Carbon Monoxide, and the free Priority Services Register, which gives vulnerable customers extra support if they lose their energy supply. Find out more at https://tangramhousing.co.uk

Ignite Imaginations, Sheffield – £4,300.00
Ignite Imaginations is a community arts organisation and charity based in Sheffield, which aims to connect with individuals and communities across the city through the arts. Through activities and workshops, it helps people to gain new skills and confidence. Ignite Imaginations will use the Community Partnering Fund grant to actively promote science, technology, engineering and maths subjects to disadvantaged young people in Sheffield. Find out more at https://www.igniteimaginations.org.uk 

Zero Carbon Yorkshire, Sheffield – £6,077.00
Zero Carbon Yorkshire is a not-for-profit organisation based in Sheffield that is developing a good carbon practice network. It supports individuals, groups and organisations in the region to reduce their carbon footprint. The aim is to bring together Yorkshire communities to co-produce a roadmap for a climate-smart, successful, sustainable and resilient county; making Yorkshire a leading light in the fight against climate change. The funding will be invested in a series of hands-on Zoom and workshop sessions designed for small groups around STEM-related projects, and the creation of a community energy network. Find out more at https://zerocarbonyorkshire.org

The Employers Forum for Sharrow, Heeley And Norfolk Park Ltd, Sheffield – £10,000.00
The employer-led Forum supports people into apprenticeships and training, and makes links with young people, communities, schools and colleges in Sheffield. Addressing the rising demand on its support services as a result of the pandemic, the Forum will use its Community Partnering Fund grant to address food and fuel poverty in the Sharrow, Heeley and Norfolk Park areas of Sheffield, particularly for vulnerable people primarily from minority ethnic communities.

Bryony Boyle, Co-ordinator at Selby Big Local, said: “We’re delighted to have received funding through Round 5 of the Community Partnering Fund.

“The Fund presents us with a really exciting opportunity to build upon our projects by developing a series of community cookery courses, and empowering our Community Fridge volunteers and ‘cooking buddies’ to be Energy Champions; helping the community to eat healthily on a budget and save money on energy costs.

“We’ll be working with the Yorkshire Energy Doctor and piloting a cookery course using slow cookers, which are more cost efficient than traditional cookers. We’re passionate about the power of food to bring people together and this project will play a vital role in improving community resilience in Selby, as we gradually emerge from the pandemic.”

Michelle Cummings, Social Responsibility Manager at Northern Powergrid, the company responsible for the electricity network across the North East, Yorkshire and northern Lincolnshire, said: “Being a force for good in the communities we serve is more important than ever. In addition to our critical role powering everyday life for eight million people during the pandemic, we want to play our part in supporting organisations across the region who are reaching out into local communities to provide much needed and enduring support. By working in partnership with Northern Gas Networks, we can ensure our joint funding benefits more people and communities.  We look forward to seeing the positive results from these latest awards.”

Jill Walker, Social Strategy Project Manager at Northern Gas Networks, the gas distributor for the North of England, said: “At Northern Gas Networks, we’re committed to helping our most vulnerable communities across Yorkshire.  The Community Partnering Fund, delivered in partnership with Northern Powergrid, is all about providing enduring support to organisations at the heart of the communities that we serve. So we are very pleased to be able to announce this latest round of grants to some really fantastic grassroots organisations in Yorkshire, who will now go on to make a positive and practical difference to those living in their communities at a very challenging time.”

Kate Hainsworth, Chief Executive at Leeds Community Foundation, added: “Leeds Community Foundation is proud to continue to work in partnership with Northern Gas Networks and Northern Powergrid. We’ve distributed nearly £250k since 2018 and look forward to continuing to support the work of grassroots groups, who continue to face huge challenges as a result of COVID-19.”