Thriving Communities Programme: helping community groups to support people through Covid-19

London Plus are excited to be the regional development partner for the Thriving Communities Programme in the Capital.

This week the new Thriving Communities programme has launched. This is a national programme seeking to champion and support the vital work of voluntary, community, faith and social enterprise (VCFSE) groups who work with communities most impacted by Covid-19.

We are delighted to announce that London Plus is London’s regional development partner for the Thriving Communities programme. To deliver this programme, we have partnered with five CVS’s across the capital who will be the regional lead for their areas:

One Westminster (North West London)

Voluntary Action Camden (North Central London)

Tower Hamlets CVS (North East London)

Bexley CVS (South East London)

Croydon Voluntary Action (South West London).

The importance of Social Prescribing

VCFSE groups and organisations are providing critical support to communities impacted by COVID19. Throughout the pandemic, organisations have rapidly responded and continue to respond to the needs of their community. For example, moving their activities online and enabling people to connect remotely.

Whilst this programme isn’t solely focused on social prescribing link workers, we are acutely aware that they can connect people to activities that help with their physical and mental wellbeing. The activities are wide-ranging from virtual singing to befriending groups and provide vital support to individuals impacted by COVID19.

The Thriving Communities Programme, launched by the National Academy for Social Prescribing (NASP) is supported by regional partners, Arts Council England, the Money and Pensions Service, Natural England, NHS England and NHS Improvement, NHS Charities Together and Sport England.

The programme will help VCFSE groups and organisations in England to build upon their current activities. As well as to, share their learning, gain new ideas, access funding and develop partnerships across sectors. Importantly, this will help to ensure their continued delivery, beyond COVID19.

“We know the positive impact activities such as walking football, singing to improve lung health, food growing projects and green dementia health walks can make to the lives of people, their mental and physical health. These community-based activities are vital to the wellbeing of the nation – and therefore it’s only right that we work together to support them. This programme reflects our own ambition to support and champion community groups delivering social prescribing activities, particularly for those communities most impacted by COVID19.” James Sanderson, Chief Executive, National Academy for Social Prescribing.

The Thriving Communities Programme will deliver:

  • A Thriving Communities Network and Ideas Hub. Providing a platform to connect community groups and organisations regionally and nationally. Enabling them to share learning, and attend regular webinars to support and celebrate their work. Click here to register for the network or you access the ideas hub here;
  • Learning Together, a regional support and development initiative run by NASP Regional Leads and their partners. Bringing together VCFSE groups who have been supporting communities through COVID19. This initiative aims to celebrate, support and amplify the impact of their work, and inspire innovation. Learning Together is free to join but places are limited. The deadline to apply is 11th December;
  • Regional Leads who will help members of Learning Together, connect with other groups and organisations to stimulate new partnerships. This will be in thematic areas such as arts, natural environment, financial wellbeing, physical activity and health and care organisations, including social prescribing link workers;
The areas of focus in the Thriving Communities programme are Physical activity, arts, financial wellbeing, natural environment and health and case organisations

The above areas are being particularly focussed on in the Thriving Communities Programme

  • A £1.4m Thriving Communities Fund, to open later this month. Delivered by Arts Council England it will provide grants of up to £50k for partnerships led by VCFSE organisations. The fund aims to increase community activities, particularly across the thematic areas mentioned above. As well as support for people most impacted by COVID19. Find out more about the fund here, applications will open Monday 23rd November;
  • The Thriving Communities Fund will run alongside the NHS Charities Together Community Partnership Grants worth £30 million across the UK. This fund enables a lead NHS Charity within every Integrated Care System across England to fund community partnerships which increase support for people impacted by COVID19, maximising their potential.

Thriving Communities Programme: London

London Plus are excited to be working with the five regional leads across London, NASP and the regional partners as part of the Thriving Communities Programme.

“Thriving Communities will allow us to enhance our delivery to those most affected by COVID19, whilst supporting us to build strategic cross sector partnerships.” Stephanie McKinley, Thriving Communities Regional Lead for London.

Are you part of a local voluntary, community, faith and social enterprise group or organisation? Do you provide support to communities impacted by COVID19 and health inequalities? If so, Thriving Communities can help you to share your learning, gain new ideas, access funding and develop partnerships across sectors.

Please head to the Thriving Communities page to access resources and to sign up to be part of the programme.

To find out more about London Plus’s Social Prescribing Network please click here.