While the Small Grants programme has a good spread of funding across England there are some areas that receive lower levels of funding when considering population sizes, levels of inactivity and levels of deprivation. To help address this we chose some local partners to help us pilot different ways of working.
Voluntary Action Leicestershire (VAL) was chosen as a partner to help reach areas of the East Midlands that had received very low levels of funding from Sport England. They are the largest voluntary and community sector support agency in the county and have been supporting the community sector for more than 50 years.
VAL chose two areas for the Active Communities programme with the specific focus of helping inactive people to get active. Those areas have some of the lowest levels of physical activity in the county and their role was to work with local community organisations to help address this through supporting them to develop their projects and funding applications.
The first area, Highfields, is an inner-city neighbourhood within the Spinney Hills ward of Leicester city and has significant levels of economic deprivation with an ethnically diverse population.
The second area, Coalville, is a former mining town in the North-West Leicestershire district and two particularly deprived areas of the town were given focus.
The programme funded 21 projects across the two areas adding up to £125,000 of grants. The projects reached almost 1500 people, the majority of which were previously inactive.
There were 143 volunteers working on the projects and 30 different sports were offered. Many of the projects focused on the health benefits of getting physically active, one project was even delivered using doctors, volunteering their time, to promote healthy living and physical exercise.