The difference that the Aviva Community Fund can make

The Everyday ManAdvertisement Feature in association with the Aviva Community Fund 2018

With the financial squeeze affecting every corner of the country, it can often be important lifeline services at the heart of our communities that can be among the first to suffer funding cuts. Project leaders are often forced to make difficult choices as extreme as closure!  With all of this in mind, I was delighted to hear recently about the work of the Aviva Community Fund.

Now in its fourth year, the Aviva Community Fund has already helped over 2,000 projects who have all gained not only funding but support and tools to continue to do the great work that they do. Whether it’s providing support groups for people with mental health issues, teaching life-changing skills or regenerating community areas, the Aviva Community Fund offers support, practical advice and funding from £1,000 up to £25,000, to help as many people, to make a lasting difference and bring communities together.

Aviva aim to help groups across three categories.  The first of these is Environment category and focuses on projects that are trying to improve their natural surroundings.  This could be anything from the creation of a community garden to a flood defence system.  They are also looking for Health & Wellbeing campaigns to help.  These should have an aim to help people improve their physical, mental and emotional health.  There’s lots of ways to do this so the range of projects that have been successful in this category in the past are very diverse.  The last category is Skills for Life aim of helping individuals to improve their and or learn new life skills.

The Everyday ManThe Everyday ManThe Everyday ManOne of the projects which has already received help from the fund is, Gaelic Games Development in Glasgow and last week I went along to one of their training sessions to find out what they do and to discover how the funding from Aviva has helped them.

The group run Gaelic football, hurling and camogie teams in Glasgow for a range of ages from primary school up to adults.  I’d joined one of the kids Hurling training sessions and was impressed by the turnout.  Around 25 kids from aged 4 up to about 11 had turned up to take part in the various drills and games on the night.

Hurling (for any of you like me until last week, who don’t know much about it), is an Irish sport a little like hockey.  It’s actually the national game of Ireland and dates back over 4000 years so it’s important that groups like this are keeping it alive!  To take part in the sport you need to wear a helmet, you also need a bat and a special ball called a sliotar. This kit costs around £100 per player and with 25 kids on the field of play that night, it was quickly apparent how useful the funding is.

Aside from keeping the game alive, it’s a mixed sport at junior level so it’s nice for boys and girls or mixed ages to be playing together and getting to know each other, I got a real sense of community spirit from my taster session, with the older kids in particular helping the younger ones with their techniques.

The Everyday ManThe Everyday Man

Community groups across the UK have now submitted their applications for funding to the Aviva Community Fund and they need your support, in the form of votes to help get them through to the next round.

So, if there’s a community group that’s close to your heart or even just one that you think deserves support, head on over to at.aviva.uk/GetVotingvoting is now open and will close on 20th November.

Also if you’re a group that hasn’t submitted and would still like a helping hand, advice or inspiration on how to keep making a difference in your local area, the Aviva Community Fund is also making resources such as tips on how to fundraise and raise awareness through PR and social media available on www.aviva.co.uk/services-and-support/more-from-aviva/aviva-community-fund/.

Photography by Jamie Williamson

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