Onward Community Fund awards grants to 63 local projects

A Community Fund run by Onward Homes has supported 63 projects across the North West over the last year.

Underpinned by our mission to make a positive difference in the communities we serve, Onward’s Community Fund supports local community groups to run new and existing projects that address local food, digital, green, and work issues. Examples include courses providing digital access and training, youth projects that promote better health and wellbeing through green space, and community events that provide low cost, nutritious food options.

Groups can bid for up to £2,500 for their neighbourhood. In 2022/23, over £21,000 was distributed to Lancashire, £51,000 to Greater Manchester and £27,000 to Merseyside. 

The Pukar Centre, Lancashire

Based in Preston City Centre, The Pukar Centre applied to the Onward Community Fund to help employ an additional worker for 6 hours per week. The centre has been supporting local people for over 25 years, working with disabled people, carers, and families to help them maintain their independence, but has struggled to keep up with demand in recent months due to the cost of living.

Younus Khan, Manager of the Pukar Centre in Preston, said:

There has been an increased demand on our services as a direct result of the cost of living. We applied for the Onward Community Fund to help employ an additional worker to help us target more local people who are most in need as the cost of living rises. This grant will allow us to support more vulnerable people not just with cost of living, but also to support them into work and engage with new digital skills. 

We would like to thank Onward and appreciate the support to help us continue our work in Preston.”

Caritas Diocese of Salford, Greater Manchester

Caritas Diocese of Salford is a charity that provides help to those experiencing poverty, disadvantage, and discrimination in Greater Manchester to transform their lives. The organisation provides a practical response to those in crisis, suffering hardship or who are at risk, enabling people to live in a safe, healthy, and secure environment.  

Based in North of Manchester, Caritas applied to the Onward Community Fund to support their new Building Resilience Programme that will run 3 activities a week for local women to help with digital skills, gardening and arts and crafts, providing work experience to help them to get back into employment. 

Amanda Croome, Head of Homelessness for Caritas Diocese of Salford, said:

“This award will make a massive difference to the women’s groups that we work with through the new Building Resilience Programme. Many of the women we work with have amazing skills but lack the confidence to share their skills with the world.  

This project will create a safe place to trial out making, selling, pricing and marketing their crafts. Overall, we feel that it will enhance their self-esteem, improve wellbeing, connections, and build confidence and resilience.” 

Homegrown Collective, Merseyside

Homegrown Collective is community organisation co-owned and co-produced by local people in Anfield, Everton and North Liverpool, UK. Their aim is to create accessible self-sustainable community training hubs; resident led indoor and outdoor spaces for local people to learn to; grow and share fresh food, recycle, using traditional and innovative techniques. 

The Collective applied for the fund so they could host a series of sessions on how to set up a community social enterprise of local community growers to support the sustainability and food security in their neighbourhoods. 

Samantha Jones, Director of Homegrown Collective, said:

“Our ‘growing together’ events will enable us to sow, plant, nurture and share homegrown food with residents of Anfield and Everton and begin to develop a sustainable food growing community within our neighbourhood.

We would like to thank Onward for their support towards our new series teaching local residents how to cultivate and grow food within their homes, and can’t wait to see how the 5 large, scale seasonal events go over this Spring and Summer.”

Onward are re-launching the Community Fund on April 1st 2023, with the first round closing at 5pm on Monday 15th May 2023.

Applications for the Community Fund are assessed by a panel who consider each application based on its merits and its potential support local residents who are facing increased challenges due to the rising cost of living.  

Further details, including the full eligibility criteria and how to apply can be found online via the following link: https://www.onward.co.uk/community-fund/