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shutterstock 1348037315 2136x1424NEW research out today from The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK, shows that the pandemic has helped to reignite people’s interest in their local community and sparked a desire to be more involved in 2021.

Across the UK almost seven in ten people (69%) feel like they are part of their local community, with around a third acknowledging that COVID has increased their sense of belonging (35%) and also made it more important for them to feel part of it (33%).

The survey of over 7,000 UK adults across the UK is nationally and politically representative and asks how people are feeling about their community and their ambitions for their local area for the year ahead.

After a year which thrust community spirit into the spotlight, three in ten (30%) say that they plan to get more involved in their local community in 2021. But as well as enjoying a greater appreciation of their local community, people also have a firm sense of the challenges their community faces and what will be important in their local area this year.

Reducing loneliness and isolation (47%), helping the local economy (43%), supporting mental health (39%) and helping local people to live healthily and well (38%) are all seen as important for their community’s wellbeing this year.

Other 2021 priorities are access to natural green spaces (52%), providing young people with places to go and activities to do (48%) and community activities that bring people together (38%) – all of which could potentially help with another concern for communities, which is safe on the streets (54%).

Interestingly, many of the changes people most want to see for their community in the year ahead are behavioural. These include people caring and looking out for each other (50%), a focus on supporting each other and good neighbourliness (45%), and parents spending quality time with their children (42%).

2020 also appears to have opened people’s eyes to the great work being done by many within their communities with a majority (65%) saying that local community groups and projects, volunteers and charities deserve more recognition. And when thinking of what they most want for their local community in 2021, just over a third (34%) want to see support for community projects and charities.

Faiza Khan MBE, Director of Engagement and Insight at The National Lottery Community Fund, said:

“Last year so many communities up and down the country demonstrated the amazing things people can do to support each other during challenging times. This research shows the power of that collective endeavour and the profound impact on how we feel about the areas we live in and the people around us – making more of us appreciate our community and want to get involved.

“At The National Lottery Community Fund, we believe that local communities know what they need and the research highlights some of the thousands of projects that people value as part of everyday life – these are exactly the kind of projects that regularly benefit from funding made possible thanks to National Lottery players.”

National Lottery players raise £30 million a week for good causes and the research findings chime with the thousands of grant requests The National Lottery Community Fund deals with and the conversations its regional funding teams have with grant holders across the UK.

During 2020 it distributed over £650 million to community projects across the UK, funding thousands of projects bringing people together, tackling loneliness and isolation, supporting young people and benefitting the environment – all things that this research demonstrates are important to people and their communities.

One such project, which provides green spaces coupled with activities for young people is an environmental charity, Tree for Cities. It works with local communities across the UK, including Racecourse Estate in Ealing, London, bringing people together to create high-quality green spaces and cultivating lasting change in their neighbourhoods – whether it’s revitalising forgotten spaces, creating healthier environments or getting people excited about growing, foraging and eating healthy food.

David Elliott, Chief Executive at Trees for Cities, said:

“As a tree-planting organisation with local communities and people at its heart, we have seen the direct benefits that urban green spaces bring to the people and communities we work in. These findings back up our own understanding of the multiple benefits that urban trees and green spaces have on our mental health and wellbeing, as well as the importance of bringing local communities together to help create and enjoy green spaces. Last year, thanks to National Lottery players, we were able to deliver more transformational greening projects and connect more young people with nature – enabling and inspiring them to act upon their great ideas and ambitions for their community.”

For more information on The National Lottery Community Fund and the funding available to support communities, please visit: | 12 January 2021

Hospice creates mobile classroom to ensure vital end of life training for care homes continues 2136x1424LEADING Derbyshire hospice, Treetops has created a mobile classroom from one of its minibuses, so nursing homes can continue to receive a vital end of life training to care for residents.

Fifty-two nursing homes across Southern Derbyshire have now received specialised training on how to mix end-of-life medication at a patient’s bedside. Prior to this, nursing staff did not have the skills to mix their own medications to be used in a syringe driver pump. Pre-filled syringes were made up by the hospital pharmacy, sometimes leading to delays in care.

The vital training is being led by clinical facilitators Katie Gibbins and Faye Thrasivoulou on behalf of the Derby and Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). Katie and Faye are being hosted by Treetops Hospice Care in Risley which provides nursing care and emotional support for adults with life-limiting conditions and their families.

Katie explained the huge positive impact of the training:

“We are training care home staff to use syringe drivers to deliver the same pain relief and medication directly to patients at the end of life, ensuring their symptoms are brought under control earlier and so they can spend crucial time with their family members.

“It also means residents at the end of life don’t have to be sent to the hospital but can die in their own home if that’s their choice, with familiar people and things around them.

“And homes can become a completely secure unit as nothing is being bought in externally from the hospital.

“The training is crucial and an essential, key element to care homes being able to offer a Gold Standard end of life care and achieving their CQC rating. All other training has been cancelled due to COVID apart from this because this is so critical.”

During the summer months, Katie and Faye would set up a Treetops gazebo outside care homes for training but not all homes had suitable outdoor areas, so training proved impossible during wet or windy weather.

The Treetops Facilities Team came to the rescue, adapting one of their hospice minibuses – currently not in use – by removing existing seating and fixing a table and chairs to create a mobile classroom.

Katie continued:

“Although some training can be delivered remotely via Zoom or through one of the training videos we have created, there is still a need for us to go out and give detailed demonstrations for small groups of staff.

“We can now train two staff at a time in the minibus very safely. Staff enter from the side door of the minibus and we enter from the back, leaving the windows open. We are at least a meter apart from each other with a table between us and we all have full PPE.

“There’s also a plastic shield between us and the driver when we’re out and about. It looks really good and we can reassure care home managers and clinical staff when they book the training that it’s COVID-safe.”

There is a constant need to train new employees at homes as well as offering ongoing peer support.

“When we are out and about, we promote other support that homes might not be aware of, including bereavement counselling that Treetops offers to staff in a group setting or for individuals. Treetops also provided us with hampers to take to the homes, to boost morale and remind them they’re not alone.

“We’re so lucky with what Treetops have provided. Without the hospice, this training simply wouldn’t have happened.”

Katie admits the current mood amongst care homes is low:

“We know from talking to care, home staff, that they are under a lot of stress and the ever-changing situation with COVID makes things very difficult.

“At the height of the pandemic last year, many staff told us they felt very lonely. Things are still tough, with many homes short staffed and they are naturally worried and scared. They also have a lot of pressure on them to facilitate family members coming to visit residents and that takes time.

“But even so, homes have really welcomed us and benefitted from the training. We have had some fantastic, positive feedback and have a lot of homes booked in for training in January and February.

“We’re so proud of what we’ve been able to achieve. It’s so rewarding to be able to make a positive change to delivering end-of-life care here in South Derbyshire. We may not be able to add days to life, but we can add life to days.

“No nurse should feel like they can’t manage somebody’s end of life needs so we want to encourage all nursing homes across southern Derbyshire to get in touch with us.”

During the pandemic, Treetops has adapted its services to continue to support its vulnerable patients in the community. The hospice welcomes donations to their Treetops COVID-19 Appeal to ensure the future of the hospice and its services. Donations can be made at | 11 January 2021

Medical students accessing donated books the Mengo Hospital in Uganda2020 was a year of extraordinary challenges – but despite its warehouse being closed for two months, Book Aid International provided 867,567 brand new books to communities around the world over the course of the year.

These books have reached thousands of schools, libraries, universities, hospitals and refugee camps in 19 countries, and they were all donated by UK publishers.

The books sent around the world included 431,000 children’s books to ignite young readers’ excitement about reading and support their learning, 88,000 teen and adult fiction books to provide joy and escape and 75,000 medical texts to support practising professionals and help students develop their skills.

Doyel Maitra, Group Communications Director at Hachette UK, spoke about their support of the charity in 2020:

“We are proud to continue our partnership with Book Aid International to support its work with communities around the world who struggle to access books. Reading inspires, educates and entertains, and ultimately helps people to change their lives for the better. Last year, Hachette UK donated 43,644 books to Book Aid International and we hope to expand on this in 2021, so we can help to bring the joy and opportunities of books to even more people.”

In addition to providing books to libraries, schools and healthcare providers in 2020, the charity also continued supporting people who have been displaced, sending 5,520 books to support refugees in Greece and 37,942 books as well as 30 Pioneer Book Boxes to people forced to flee violence in Cameroon.

Book Aid International also continued its London Book Fair Excellence Award-winning Solar Homework Club project in Kenya’s Kakuma Refugee Camp. The project provides secondary school students with revision guides alongside solar lamps, enabling them to study into the night even when electricity is unreliable. In 2020, these books and lamps were vital for refugee learning while schools were closed and the camp was locked down.

Children in Ghana reading donated books. Photograph credit: Rotary Club and Rainbow Trust Foundation

George Nandi from the organisation responsible for refugee education in the camp, Windle International Kenya, explained:

“When schools were closed learning was going on [in Kenya] through radio lessons, but our learners faced challenges in accessing devices such as radios, smartphones and internet bundles. So the teachers issued out books provided by Book Aid International and also solar lamps. They helped the students to continue to study at home.”

Book Aid International is deeply grateful to the publishers who donated books to support people around the world who would otherwise have few or no books at all.

The charity’s Chief Executive, Alison Tweed, expressed the charity’s thanks:

“2020 was an incredibly challenging year, and we have been overwhelmed by the generosity of our supporters. We know that many publishers faced uncertainty over this last year, yet their book donations to our charity never wavered – and it was only through that support that we were able to keep providing books around the world. I would like to thank each and every organisation that chose to support our charity in 2020 – and invite them to join us as we look to 2021 and beyond.”

To hear more from Alison Tweed about the charity’s work in 2020, please see her blog:

In 2021, Book Aid International is committed to finding new ways of bringing books into communities, reaching more readers and continuing to work for a world where no one is without books. To discuss how your company can support Book Aid International’s work, please contact Operations Manager Harry Boughton, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. | 12 January 2021


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