The National Lottery Community Fund supports two of our projects, Better Together and Bridging the Gap. David Knott, CEO of the National Lottery Community Fund, came to Lincoln, along with Emma Taylor, Local Fund Officer; Ruth Copleston Funding Manager and Derval O’Brien, Senior Grant Making Manager to see first hand the work that our projects do to support people in our community.

Following the visit David Knott detailed his visit on LinkedIn;

First stop was developmentplus, a remarkable organisation who provide person-centred support to over 500 disadvantaged and vulnerable people each year, helping them not just survive, but thrive. During my visit I learned about three inspiring projects we’re funding: one aimed at supporting people with mental health conditions to progress in their lives, another focusing on mentoring to reduce re-offending rates, a third providing crucial face-to-face support for rough sleepers. Powerful stories: experienced, empathetic, engaged staff and the outcomes they’re achieving with the people they support.

Next, I met with Abbey Access Training where I was introduced to their comprehensive counselling support, group therapy session and wellbeing activities to improve mental health and combat isolation. Decades of work, and strong partnerships with developmentplus, particularly through the partnership ‘Better Together’ delivering training and placements together. Thanks for the tasty lunch today cooked and served by course learners at the Arboretum Cafe!

Finally, I had the opportunity to visit Green Synergy, who use person-centred approach and participatory community development in the natural environment.

Rain didn’t hold us back from Hillside Community Gardens, where we saw such imaginative and versatile use of two-and-a-half acres of formerly derelict land behind Lincoln County Hospital.  This is an award winning prestigious regional ‘Best Gardening and Horticulture Charity’ for 2023, and I can see why! In addition to supporting their organisational development, we’re funding initiatives to facilitate warm space activities, process emergency food bank referrals, and provide help to those in need.

Reflecting on the breadth of our visit, I couldn’t help but draw parallels to Baroness Louise Casey’s ‘Fixing Britain’ BBC series, as we encountered themes that sharply illustrate the challenges addressed in almost all the themes of her series.

Today showed how partnership around distinct expertise, together with join up across Lincoln’s charity and community organisations, are key to provide authentic, person-centred support.

This experience underscored the difference charities like these have each day. I’m simply glad the National Lottery Community Fund is able to support organisations and projects like these, just three projects among the 170 initiatives we’ve recently supported across Lincolnshire. 👏 Well done Lincs!

Special thanks to my colleagues Ruth Copleston, Derval O’Brien and Emma Taylor for their guidance showing me around, including a trip to Lincoln Castle and Lincoln Cathedral. No better place to have a team debrief at the end of the day than this 700-year old Gothic building.