Middle of the Hill Community Group based at Nouncells Cross in Stroud is celebrating after being awarded £5000 in funding from The National Lottery Community Fund and IKEA UK, as part of the £1.5million pilot programme, Places Called Home.
The pilot programme from the largest funder of community activity and the world’s largest home furnishing retailer, is supporting more than 330 local communities across the UK with grants of up to £5,000 to build back better and differently as they recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. The Places Called Home programme builds on the energy and creativity of communities coming together during the crisis to support each other and aims to inspire them to take action around healthy and sustainable living, while learning from each other and building meaningful connections.
Middle of the Hill Community Group will use their funding to expand the work of its thriving food hub which uses surplus food, donated by supermarkets and traders from the farmers’ market, to support neighbours experiencing food inequality and to help the community play its part in reducing food waste. They plan to redevelop the external areas of the community room, along with some internal improvements, to make it a more functional space for the community to get together.
Group Secretary Denise Nolson, who wrote the funding submission, said: “We were over the moon when we learnt we had won this award and we are grateful to the National Lottery Players and to Ikea. The food re-distribution hub has not only helped tackle food waste and food poverty, it has also really brought our community together. People from all around this area now know neighbours they never knew they had! I truly believe the whole community will be able to benefit from these enhancements to our lovely Community Room, which will mean that we can offer even more to residents.”
Chairman of the Group Nathan added: “This is brilliant news. Middle of the Hill Community Group and the food re-distribution hub are run entirely by dedicated and unpaid volunteers. Whilst the community without fail support our cake sales and raffles, these only bring in so much. A grant like this will therefore enable us to do even more in our community in a way we never thought was possible. The current committee are proud to be able to build on the work done by earlier committee members in setting up this community facility many years ago.”
Emma Ackerman, Funding Strategy Director at The National Lottery Community Fund said: “As we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is clear that we can build on the energy and creativity we’ve seen to make stronger communities and a better everyday life. We’re delighted that together with IKEA and National Lottery players we have been able to support this across the UK with our pilot partnership and funding announced today.”
Hege Saebjornsen, Partnership Advisor at Ingka Group said: “The COVID-19 outbreak has demonstrated how fragile the world is, reinforcing the need for collective resilience – for our neighbourhoods, our communities and our planet. Through this programme, we have an opportunity to make sustainable and healthy living accessible and affordable for everyone while also unleashing the skills, energy and enthusiasm of communities to take part in making a difference every day.”
Places Called Home is a small-scale pilot to test how a partnership between the largest funder of community activity in the UK works with the world’s largest home furnishing retailer.
The food re-distribution hub opens from 11am to 1pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and again between 5pm-7pm on Thursdays. If you would like to get involved with the work of Middle of the Hill Community Group, you can contact them at contactMHCG@gmail.com .