Hull to receive £1.3 million to boost volunteering and tackle loneliness

Minister with a service user in red

Two Ridings is delighted to be distributing £1.3 million in Hull to boost volunteering and tackle loneliness as part of a wider £30 million ‘Know Your Neighbourhood Fund’ announced by the Department of Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) on the 9 March 2023.

To mark the launch of the fund, Stuart Andrew, Minister for Civil Society and Youth visited Age UK’s ‘Chatty Thursday’ session in Hull. This is one of eleven projects benefiting from the Know Your Neighbour fund in the first round.

After meeting staff and a befriending volunteer Stuart Andrew, Minister for Civil Society said:

“What I have seen today is local people visiting local older people in their homes, befriending them. I think this is amazing and exactly what this fund is about.”

He talked about how crucial community organisations were in tackling loneliness and how having close partnerships on the ground were so important.

“What’s important to make this fund work is the partnership with UKCF and here in Hull with Two Ridings. It’s local organisations like Two Ridings, embedded in the community, who are going to make this fund work extremely well and be really effective, and importantly, reach more people.”

One of the participants of the session explained how important their Thursday sessions were.

“It’s like family here. When I lost my husband last year I could have just moped around at home, but I decided I needed to get out there and meet people. Now I have new friends that feel like family. I love coming here every week and the staff and volunteers are so lovely.”

From the visit, the Minister gained an understanding of how much the befriending service means to people who feel lonely and was pleased to see how projects can work together to not only encourage good volunteering but at the same time reduce social isolation.

collage at an Age Uk session

Other projects benefiting from the funding in Hull include Lonsdale Community Centre who have partnered up with Vulcan Learning Centre to run an intergenerational multimedia training project which sees young people keen to create YouTube shorts and podcasts learn alongside people in their seventies wanting to better use cameras and microphones effectively to make their own films.

Hull Citizens Advice Bureau, after losing volunteers during the pandemic, are using their funding to look at new ways to recruit and train volunteers, with a Volunteer Manager finding remote and online training is working well for home-based volunteers. With the demand for their advice escalating after the impact of Covid and the cost of living crisis, using the Know Your Neighbourhood fund to adapt their approach to recruiting volunteers has been vital.

Hull Red are using their funding to further develop their Gig Buddies scheme, a befriending scheme that matches up lonely and isolated people with a learning disability with a volunteer who shares their cultural interests so they can enjoy their passions together, and the person with a learning disability can gain confidence and broaden their social networks and life experiences.

Harriet Johnson, Head of Programmes and Partnerships at Two Ridings said:

“Hull is a vibrant city with lots of great volunteering networks and befriending schemes. The Know Your Neighbourhood fund is a chance to build on that success, share learning, work in partnership and really make a difference in people’s lives.

“The fund will give a wide range of organisations the opportunity to reach more people and boost volunteering, strengthening the great communities in the city and improving wellbeing for everyone.

“This is an exciting opportunity for Hull to connect and thrive.”


  • The Know Your Neighbourhood Fund is a partnership between the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, The National Lottery Community Fund, Arts Council England The National Lottery Heritage Fund a package of up to £30 million to create volunteering opportunities and increase connections across the country.
  • £15.5 million will be distributed through community foundations in the UKCF network.
  • Two Ridings will distribute £1.3 million in total. £135,333 has been distributed to date to 11 projects in Hull. Further rounds of funding will follow later in 2023 and in 2024.
  • Details of how to apply for funding from Two Ridings are available here.
  • DCMS is backing the country’s powerhouse sectors to grow the economy and make a difference where people live.
  • UKCF is the membership organisation for 47 accredited community foundations based all around the UK that collectively cover every postcode.