The government is awarding £3m to communities across the country to help people volunteer in their local areas, the Minister for Civil Society has announced.
Speaking in a House of Commons debate on charities and the voluntary sector yesterday, Mims Davies said the funding, which is part of the government’s Place Based Social Action scheme, would help people invest time, money and skills into their local areas.
She said that £2.3m would go to 10 places around the country to help put communities "at the heart of tackling local issues". The areas include Somerset and Lincoln.
A further £770,000 would go, she said, to six areas to boost fundraising for local causes in deprived communities, including parts of Bristol and the Yorkshire coast.
Davies told MPs: "This investment in communities the length and breadth of the country will help even more people take action on the issues they care about most, including helping more volunteering, giving more money directly to local causes that people feel connected with in their community and supporting even more simple neighbourly acts, which can mean so much."
Davies set out her three priorities as charities minister, a role she has held since Tracey Crouch’s resignation in November 2018.
The first priority, according to Davies, was the building of "connected" communities, which would reduce loneliness, helping people to feel attached to where they live and help to build a better society.
She said the second focus would be on creating a "socially responsible business and finance sector" that could "act as an even greater force for good in our society and tackle, creatively, some of its most entrenched problems".
The third focus will be on helping young people contribute to their communities, Davies said.
Davies also summarised a number of other government initiatives, including £20m of new grant funding for projects that are directly connecting communities and reducing loneliness, and £250,000 to help lonely people to volunteer.
She also discussed £135m in new dormant-accounts funding that would be used within the charity sector.
In response, Steve Reed, the shadow charities minister, said the government’s austerity programme had destroyed communities across the UK and its policies had sidelined the charity sector.
"Ever since they were elected, this government’s method has been to underfund, undermine and sideline the sector at every opportunity," Reed told MPs.
"That is a tragedy, because civil society, including the charities, volunteers and community groups that are part of it, play a critical role in reconnecting the communities that this government has divided."