In 2020 The National Lottery Community Fund invested in community groups and projects to help them adapt and continue to deliver their services throughout the coronavirus crisis. In light of this, The National Lottery CF have released new research which found that the pandemic has helped to reignite people's interest in their local community and sparked a desire to be more involved in 2021.

The research which surveyed 7,000 adults in the UK found that nearly 1 in 3 say that they now plan to get more involved in their local community in 2021. Furthermore, 70% feel like they are part of their local community with around a third acknowledging that COVID-19 has increased their sense of belonging. COVID-19 whilst separating us, has in fact brought communities together through the joint-collective actions we have all faced.

However, while respondents said they enjoyed a greater appreciation for their local community, many also have a strong sense of what will be important in their local area and the challenges their community faces this year. The three most important issues facing communities across the UK were:

    • - Reducing loneliness and isolation (27.8%)
    • - Helping the local economy (25.2%)
    • - Providing services for mental health (21%)

In Dagenham and Rainham, respondents stated that they felt one of the most important issues in their area was preventing youth violence. Over the last five years, The National Lottery Community Fund have awarded £689,235 to help tackle this issue across the constituency.

Jon Cruddas MP commented: "the pandemic has brought with it a renewed focus on reducing loneliness and social isolation and has forced us into a situation of economic uncertainty. The pressures that arise from these issues are rightfully at the forefront of people's minds – job security, food poverty, mental health etc.

"However, this does not mean existing issues have gone away. The work of The National Lottery Community Fund is most welcome, and I know of many groups that have benefitted locally. Their work to support organisations tackling youth violence has been an asset."

Since the start of April 2020, communities have received £650 million in funding with 60% going to small organisations and funding being delivered in every Local Authority in the country. Over 80% of grants are under £10,000 which means all parts of the UK receive funding, including large cities, towns and rural areas.