Community projects urged to come forward for funding

Community projects that aim to help reduce social isolation are invited to take part in a new round of funding in a joint project from Cornwall Council and Crowdfunder.

Through this project there have already been a number of initiatives supported to get off the ground that have helped people in Cornwall to meet new people and learn new skills.

One of these projects is the Pearl Exchange in Bude which was created to support people who feel isolated and lonely.  It is a creative space that hosts various workshops and courses, encouraging young adults to socialise, make new connections and develop friendships.

The project received over £55,000 in funding through their Crowdfunder campaign, alongside £5,000 from Cornwall Council to help people stay healthy, happy and independent for as long as possible, and to improve their mental health.

Cornwall Council cabinet member for adults and public health Andy Virr said: “This is just one of the many projects that are supported by the Council to help people live in ‘vibrant, safe and sustainable communities’ which is one of Cornwall Council’s main aims.

“This scheme is part of the council’s Crowdfunder contract which allows us to pledge funds towards projects that aim to address social isolation.  It is a really exciting contract and we have had some fantastic projects apply.  The Pearl Exchange is a fine example of how these sorts of services can improve an individual’s wellbeing.”

As well as inspiring people to participate in creative activities it also allows them to access courses to gain practical skills which can help with job opportunities.

People also benefit from a free professional counselling service, which is free and avoids the very long waiting lists for statutory services which are in high demand.  This significantly supports those struggling with their mental health and helps them to build resilience.

Cllr Virr added: “I’d imagine most of us have felt lonely, had a low mood or felt anxious at some point in our lives and sometimes we need a bit of extra help to feel better. A project like this that helps people come together, learn new skills and access free counselling is such a great opportunity for people to get the support they need.”

Fliss Loxley, project manager from the Pearl Exchange said: “The Cornwall Social Inclusion Fund have provided us with much needed support to keep our services running totally free of charge. The Pearl Exchange offers 18 to 35 year-olds a chance to connect, create and discover while accessing support for their mental health and future decisions.

“Living in an extremely isolated part of North Cornwall can be really difficult but we understand the vital need for connection. Crowdfunder and Cornwall Council have helped to make that possible for many!”  

Phoebe Fordham, aged 23 who uses the service said: “I like the community, everyone always feels welcome and I’ve made so many new friends. I’ve learnt lots of new business skills, but its mainly having the confidence to start my own business. I’m now able to talk to a wide range of people, my social skills have really grown.”

Woman sewing

Dawn Bebe, Founder and Director of Crowdfunder said: “Crowdfunder’s mission is to help tackle society’s challenges by making ideas happen – and Pearl Exchange is a great example of that in action. It’s great to see Cornwall Council backing ideas to tackle social isolation with match funding and supporting positive change in communities.”

To find out more about Pearl Exchange you can visit their website.

If you have a project that would benefit from this funding then you can find out more by visiting the Crowdfunder website.  

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