The Young Foundation has received £50,000 in funding from The National Lottery Community Fund to build on the creativity and compassion seen in communities during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The funding, made possible thanks to National Lottery players, will enable The Young Foundation to work with Knowsley Council and the people of Knowsley to listen and share different experiences, narrate and tell their stories and to imagine, together, what is possible in the future.


The KnowsleyFutures project will use story-telling about the past and future, to invite new thinking and imagination, and support experimentation with community and people-led ideas. Knowsley Council, like many local authorities across the UK, has seen a rapid rise and renewal of networks and infrastructure supporting people experiencing new and existing challenges exacerbated by the pandemic. Self-organising neighbourhood groups have emerged alongside existing community and voluntary sector groups and the council’s Volunteering Hub – with NHS volunteers adding to the rich mixture of social action.

A dedicated KnowsleyFutures website will be created to enable people to tell and share stories about how they have faced the pandemic in Knowsley. Stories will be invited from those who self-organised, those who joined from existing volunteering networks, officials who supported co-ordination, the statutory care providers, and the people who benefited. As we move into 2021, KnowsleyFutures will begin to explore these many hundreds of stories collected, working with communities directly to understand different vantage points, explore common and diverse experiences – and together weave a big story for change.

‘The change we want to see’

Helen Goulden, CEO at The Young Foundation, said: “I want to express our deep thanks to the National Lottery players, who have enabled this work to happen. It’s through telling and sharing stories about our experiences of Covid-19 that we can begin to make sense of what we have gone through. And it’s through telling stories about what our future might be, that we can create a shared story for the change we want to see – and need to make. KnowsleyFutures uses story-telling on a mass, collaborative scale to imagine how a better future can emerge from a complex crisis.”

Knowsley Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Neighbourhoods, Cllr Shelley Powell, said: “We know there are some amazing examples of the way residents have faced individual challenges and how communities have supported each other during the Coronavirus pandemic. This exciting project will give us an opportunity to showcase those stories, while building on the creativity and imagination which exists in our communities. This project will support and inform our Knowsley 2030 consultation which is aiming to understand how the people living, working, studying and doing business in Knowsley today, feel about the place and what their hopes for the future are. We would like to encourage as many people as possible to get involved with KnowsleyFutures.”

Community challenges

The Young Foundation is one of 51 organisations across the UK to receive a grant of up to £50,000 through the Emerging Futures Fund. The funding, from the largest funder of community activity in the UK, will help harness the creativity of civil society and amplify the voices of communities through stories, narratives and public imagination projects.

Cassie Robinson, Senior Head of UK Funding at The National Lottery Community Fund, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has presented new challenges to communities across the UK and The National Lottery Community Fund has focused on getting much-needed emergency support out to communities and the sector. But it has also demonstrated the very best of civil society, which has met this huge challenge with creativity, commitment and a desire for change. We are now seeing new ways of doing things that we might not have thought of before.

“Thanks to National Lottery players, these new grants will support communities to consider how they can face the immediate impact of COVID-19 but also look to the future. The activity conducted by these community groups and organisations will generate learning and insights, and create space and capacity in communities so that they are able to anticipate, imagine and shape the future.”

Fit for the future

The Emerging Futures Fund is a key part of The National Lottery Community Fund’s commitment to enabling civil society to be fit for the future – supporting organisations and the voluntary sector to create opportunities to help local communities thrive. Thanks to National Lottery players, up to £600 million has been made available to support communities throughout the UK during the Coronavirus crisis. The National Lottery is playing a critical role in supporting people, projects and communities during these challenging times. By playing The National Lottery, you are making an amazing contribution to the nationwide-response to combatting the impact of Covid-19 on local communities across the UK.

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Posted on: 2 October 2020


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