Tens of thousands of pounds have been gifted to expand community cafes, improve mental health and help residents struggling with the cost-of-living crises.

Not-for-profit groups have until 5pm on February 15, 2023 to apply for grants between £500 and £5,000 to boost special projects that help tackle poverty in East Devon.

More than £30,000 has been awarded so far to various projects thanks to East Devon District Council’s (EDDC) Action on Poverty Fund.

Among the special schemes which will receive a boost are:

  • Project Food - which will receive £4,276 for a project to encourage people in financial need, with mental health issues to take part in farm activities and healthy eating. This will improve their self-esteem and knowledge about food, as well as providing them with free fruit and vegetable boxes to take home.
  • EX5 Alive in Cranbrook - which will receive £5,000 to set up a community hub at the Younghayes Centre. It will be a weekly event where residents can drop in, take part in free activities, cook communal lunches and access welfare information – as well as being able to keep warm and socialise with others.
  • Sidmouth Rotary - which will receive £5,000 to help them provide Christmas hampers to people in need in the Sid Valley.

EDDC is now welcoming applications from not-for-private profit groups including voluntary and community sector groups and organisations, parish councils, charities and others such as Community Interest Companies.

The money is available for projects and activities that help achieve one or more of the priorities in EDDC’s Poverty Reduction Strategy and Action Plan. This strategy aims to resolve the root causes of poverty. Applicants must have at least 50 per cent of the funding for their scheme. The scheme can’t fund ongoing costs such as ongoing rents or the day-to-day costs of running an organisation.

A few examples of what might be funded:

  • Projects that tackle hidden poverty, those who are struggling but aren’t currently seeking help.
  • Supporting low-income residents to access the internet and develop digital skills.
  • Improving health outcomes for people due to financial hardship and debt, including access to good diet, cookery classes, healthy lifestyles and ill health prevention.
  • Helping to manage mental health issues arising from any impact of poverty, including low income, debt and fuel poverty.

To find out more and apply visit: https://eastdevon.gov.uk/grants-and-funding/grants-available-from-us/east-devon-action-on-poverty-fund

Councillor Jack Rowland, EDDC’s portfolio holder for finance, said:

In view of the current financial difficulties faced by many residents we want to encourage eligible bids to be submitted by the deadline date to make sure this help is directed to those most in need of support.

The examples shown of successful bids demonstrate the great work being carried out by many organisations across the district to assist in these difficult times.