The National Lottery Community Fund has helped to invest £650m in more than 10,000 community spaces and infrastructure over the past five years, new figures show.
A report published today, called Connections Make Communities, explores the impact of government and third-party funding awarded by the grant-maker between 2016 and 2021 in England.
This investment has funded almost 10,000 building renovations to make these spaces greener and more accessible, including almost 900 infrastructure projects providing improvements such as lifts and ramps, so that all members of a community can enjoy their local facilities, the report says.
It also reveals that communities have acquired almost 600 assets that were important to them that may otherwise have been lost, from village halls and pubs to energy stations and housing developments.
Power to Change is the funder’s largest investment in community enterprise, a charitable trust established with a £150m endowment in 2015 to support community businesses.
In its first five years, more than £85m has been awarded to almost 1,300 community businesses including shops, pubs and factories, with two-thirds of this money going to the 30 per cent most deprived areas of England.
Additionally, to help build community resilience in the face of economic challenges, the grant-maker also gave out emergency funding to more than 300 community businesses during the pandemic so they could keep running and providing essential services.
Faiza Khan, director of engagement and insight at the NLCF, said: “Places such as 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.”