The National Lottery Community Organisations Cost of Living Fund

26th April 2024

Today we submitted our end of grant report.
I would like to take this opportunity in thanking @TNLCommunityFund for this vital support.
This fund enabled us to continue to deliver to the communities in Leicester and Leicestershire, a vital service providing food to people experiencing crisis, but importantly, providing them with specialist advice with our partner Helping Hands Community Trust around some of the issues that put them into the position they faced. We estimate that without this fund, our ability to meet the needs of our community would have decreased by 34%. An aspect of this ability was the retention of staff, giving them the reassurance that their jobs were secure for a further period into the future. This is a vital element to any organisation that has one of its funding streams in grants and grant making foundations. 
The life blood of our organisation are the volunteers. Funding such as this enables us to provide a place to meet, socialise and give back to the community. This fund has enabled us to continue to develop relationships with The Probation Service and other organisations working with people to be part of the process to get lives back on track. Regular volunteering has evidenced to be a significant factor in recidivism rates. This fund has helped us to strengthen our ability to offer longer term training for those in the community that wish to become work ready. Enabling us to divert and ring fence funds for training programs. It is this ability to give confidence to the community in a time of uncertainty that gives hope that change can and will happen, increasing engagement and positive outcomes. An example is our lunch club that has increased from 15 members to 50 who regularly meet for a hot meal and socialisation. Many have made new friends and enjoy chatting and playing games. Some have felt empowered to be part of a group looking at the issues affecting the community and wanting to be involved in making change happen. 
We have been delivering the Leicestershire County Councils Household support fund through our warehouse to 18 other food poverty organisations in Leicestershire. Funding from the Community Organisations Cost of Living Fund delivered by The National Lottery Community Fund, has helped us to meet the operational cost of continuing to provide a vital logistical life line through these organisations to over 60,000 people in Leicestershire. Thanks to the Government for making this possible.
This fund has enabled us to confidently work with Melton Borough Council and open 8 new village based hubs, providing a much needed rural service to places with poor communication links and an often hidden or ignored part of the community that feels disadvantaged and financially excluded.
Once again thanks goes to The National Lottery Community Fund for having the forethought to allocate funds in this way, which has certainly made a huge difference to so many communities we serve. 

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