Voluntary and community organisations in North Yorkshire have been awarded more than £200,000 for projects to improve the wellbeing of vulnerable residents and reduce loneliness and isolation through the most recent grants from North Yorkshire County Council’s Innovation Fund.

 

Organisations were invited to submit bids to the scheme last autumn, and nine projects have now been chosen to benefit in the latest round of funding. These range from arts workshops to bereavement support, sports sessions for people with mental health problems and singing and reminiscence workshops to tackle social isolation and the progression of dementia.

The Innovation Fund, which was launched in 2011, aims to support voluntary and community organisations in innovative approaches to provide early intervention or prevention measures to transform adult social care in the county and help to prevent, reduce or delay the need for statutory social care services. The programme is delivered in partnership with social enterprise Your Consortium, which manages the fund on the County Council’s behalf.

County Councillor Clare Wood, Executive Member for Adult Social Care and Health Integration, said: “This investment is an important part of the County Council’s drive to help people to maintain their independence and to support communities in caring for their vulnerable residents. North Yorkshire is home to an increasingly elderly population, for some of whom isolation is becoming a reality. We are well aware of the effects of loneliness on health and social care and that overcoming isolation is a major challenge across a rural, sparsely populated.

“It has been encouraging to see high-quality applications and innovative thinking, which are testament to the voluntary and community sector’s innovative and creative thinking. Our experience in working with voluntary and community partners has shown they are well able to deliver targeted, cost-effective support through innovative approaches.”

This will be the final round of Innovation Fund awards in its current format. In future, innovation will still be supported and encouraged, but the funding will become part of the County Council’s Stronger Communities programme. The Stronger Communities programme supports development of community-run services that improve the health and wellbeing of older people, vulnerable adults and carers and has so far supported more than 190 organisations with investment totalling more than £1.3m. Aligning the two programmes will make sure we can make the most of the investment available.