A young boy using a laptop computer sitting on top of a table

Aviva Community Fund // What the awards are used for in Norfolk

February 15, 2018

‘In association with the Aviva Community Fund 2017′

Throughout your daily life, you will come across local groups, communities and causes. Some of which you will access and use the services they provide regularly, others you will have heard of because of their involvement in your area, whilst there will be those that you might not be aware of until you are in need of the support, advice, or the facilities that they offer. 

The majority of these services will be run using funds that these groups have raised themselves or via grants. With budgets becoming more restricted, these causes are in need of a helping hand to ensure that they are able to continue their fantastic work. The Aviva Community Fund is one those helping hands that each year offers local causes and community groups the opportunity to bid for funding. 

Aviva Community Fund

The nationwide initiative, now in its third year, calls upon passionate residents to submit a project close to their heart to be in with a chance of securing funding ranging from up to £1,000 to £25,000.

This year, over 6,500 groups entered the funding initiative, each galvanising the support of their local community to vote for their entry in four categories: Health & Wellbeing, Skills for Life, Community Support, and Inclusivity.

5.5 million votes were placed this year with awards in the £1k category decided on by public votes, and winners in the £5k, £10k and £25k categories selected from the finalists by a judging panel.

I visited a winner last year, the Norwich Puppet Theatre, and this year, I was lucky enough to visit two more; Kids Teaching Digital Skills to Rural Communities and The NNUH Delivery Suite Bereavement Room, who were both awarded in the Aviva Community Fund 2017.

Kids teaching digital skills to rural communities

A young boy using a laptop computer sitting on top of a table

There is no escaping that we are living in the digital age, with more and more of our daily tasks being completed using technology. It is something that is easy to take for granted, however, accessing and learning about technology is not as easy as you might expect to some communities. This is why the Cantley & Horning Schools Federation submitted an application to enable kids to teach digital skills to people living in rural communities, via community cafes, sessions booked within a community setting and inviting the community to school-based sessions.

I was fortunate to meet with Chris Aitken, Head of Cantley & Horning Schools Federation, who welcomed me into Horning School to discuss how the federation is planning on using the £25,000 funding secured from the Aviva Community Fund this year. The funding will be used to purchase new laptops and tablets for the children to use, as well as hosting and running community-based events in rural communities over the next few years. 

Gunnar Sizemore et al. posing for the camera

The Aviva Community Fund will allow them to teach the pupils how to use email, send texts, and take and send digital photos. And meanwhile, importantly empowering the pupils to become digital teachers. The pupils will follow the schools’ computing curriculum and then share the skills learnt with members of the community. It will help the children to build social confidence while also providing new learning opportunities for local communities. The plan is to train 100 children who in turn will help 1,000 members of the community.

A group of people posing for a photo

NNUH Delivery Suite Bereavement Room

Having seen they were successful in their application, I also requested to visit TimeNorfolk who submitted an application for £1,000 in order to assist in the creation of Delivery Suite Bereavement Room at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

The aim of the bereavement room is to offer a safe space for those experiencing a loss. A room that will be self-sufficient so that women, their partners and families are able to start the grieving process away from mums to be, new mothers and the sounds of babies. Offering homely facilities including a comfortable settee, TV, radio and basic cooking facilities, alongside a place to sleep overnight if required. Surrounded by the feeling of being somewhere calming and safe without the clinical feel of being within a hospital.

This is a subject close to my own heart having had an older brother who passed away as a baby alongside close friends who have suffered miscarriages, stillbirth and neonatal death. TimeNorfolk offers free confidential help and support to women and their partners of all ages across Norfolk. I met with one of TimeNorfolk’s directors, Lesley Bradfield, who is also part of the Maternity Voices Partnership, which is where she became aware of the plans for a dedicated bereavement room for the delivery suite at the NNUH.

Lesley explained that whilst nobody is able to change the circumstances that these ladies and their families are now facing, it is hoped that the bereavement room will be a place where they are able to start the grieving process; somewhere that will give them the time to reflect, access services within the hospital and make the necessary plans. It will provide them with a space where they are able to have family and friends close by to offer support in the time of need.

Planning for the NNUH Delivery Suite Bereavement Room is underway and it is hoped that it will be available to those in need by the end of the year.

Over 592 community groups like The NNUH Delivery Suite Bereavement Room and ‘Kids teaching digital skills to rural communities’ were awarded funding by the Aviva Community Fund 2017, ranging from £1,000 to £25,000.

Visit Aviva Community Fund to find winners from your local area

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