£218,000 given out to 20 projects to bring ground-breaking system change for people in York

Grants distributed to make lasting change for local York people facing multiple issues like homelessness, addiction, poverty and poor mental health

A pot of funding – the Deciding Together Fund – created to improve the systems that perpetuate multiple disadvantage in York, has awarded £218,000 to 20 groups and individuals to provide support for people with multiple complex needs.

An 11 month participatory process has been under way since January 2021 – a new innovative approach where people with lived experience of social injustice and flawed systems worked alongside organisations and individuals already supporting complex needs, to make all the decisions in the design and allocation of funding.

Grants awarded range from a £61,000 three-year programme with Generate to engage and better support York’s transgender communities, to funding a £700 community project to improve outdoor space at Tang Hall Community Centre.

Other projects funded include £43,000 for a Peer-Led Recovery Group for York in Recovery, where people with lived experience of multiple complex issues work alongside key partners to influence the right way of working and a £21,000 Ecotherapy project at St Nicks to join up all the groups in York offering outdoor activities to improve wellbeing (EcoTherapy) and provide a more cohesive offer to people with different mental health needs.

Kyra Women’s Project has received just shy of £10,000 to create a space where they can connect with and work alongside other York organisations to truly understand the challenges people face and make York a healthier place to live and work in for everyone.

Young people are the key beneficiaries with Pilot Theatre who will be using their funding to help marginalised and disadvantaged children to tell their stories, with a particular emphasis on getting their fears and hopes heard post-pandemic.

Local Foodbank The Collective Sharehouse will use their funding to better support the people that use the foodbank, so they can signpost and offer advice, helping to tackle the root causes for the need for foodbanks.

York Anti Racist Collective are running a 16 week programme bringing together Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities to build relationships and tell their stories.

The smallest grant of £600 given out is for Lidgett Grove Methodist Church for their Wednesday morning café to bring people in the community together. Every size grant is so important and each will make a big difference.

Every project funded ultimately gives local people and organisations the space and time they need to step back, see things differently, connect with others and change the way people facing homelessness, addiction, poverty and poor mental health are supported.

Alongside the cohort of people bringing the funding design and decision making to life, were facilitators Sue Huey, Phil Marken and Jon Dorsett from The Art of Hosting Community, as well as Ali Spaul of Two Ridings Community Foundation and Kelly Cunningham of York MCNIn the new year the funded groups will be invited to come together to share what they’re doing, learn from one and other and build more connections across the city, ultimately improving support for people with multiple complex needs.

Miles, one of the Deciding Together Panel members said:

“I love that local people are making local decisions on how a pot of money can benefit local communities. Together we are shifting the power of how community money is distributed. It is all about connection – the right people, doing the right things, to get the right support and it’s often the smallest things that make the biggest difference. I am a more enriched person being involved in the Panel, my engagement with the network gives a real sense of purpose and achievement.”

Ali Spaul, at Two Ridings Community Foundation said:

“It’s been an honour to work with people in York with such wisdom, compassion and knowledge of their city and care for each other. We have been able to run a truly participatory process, funding activity that is really important.”

Other cohort members said:

“I loved being with people that despite these tough times are willing to dedicate their time and energy for the greater good of the community.”

“In recovery there is a saying, “keep doing the next right thing and all will be well”. In these past months we all just did exactly that.”

Full list of funded projects

Deciding Together Funded Groups