Hackney Council continues to invest in the voluntary and community sector through a grants programme, with £2.5m allocated in 2015/16. This programme funds a range of projects for residents, such as youth activity schemes, health advice, employment support advice and improving safety in the borough.
The Healthier Hackney Fund is another community grants programme launched by the Public Health team in Hackney Council in 2014. The fund supports local community and voluntary organisations to run innovative projects to tackle some of the most engrained health issues in the borough. In the first year of the fund, one of the priority health issues covered by the grants was mental health, which included the impact of social isolation on mental wellbeing. An organisation named Duckie was funded to deliver a project focusing specifically on reducing social isolation in older people (see Box 5). One of the priority issues for the 2016/17 Healthier Hackney Fund is community resilience. Projects funded under this grants theme will be reporting on progress and outcomes in summer 2017.
Box 5: Case study – Duckie (Healthier Hackney Fund project)
- The charity organisation ‘Duckie’ ran a project called Posh Club in Hackney in 2015/2016, funded by the Healthier Hackney Fund. Posh Club was aimed at adults aged over 60, and organised activities to help build social connections, reduce social isolation and prevent the onset of mental ill health. Posh Club involved a series of weekly social clubs, with entertainment provided.
- Posh Club engaged 445 older people over the course of the one year project.
- The project delivered positive outcomes for participants. Over 90% of guests made new friends and a further 54% had gone on to continue these friendships outside of Posh Club – showing that the group had empowered people to take a proactive approach to maintaining their social connections themselves. Participants also reported marked improvements in their understanding of how keeping socially activity can prevent a decline in mental and physical health.
- Alongside the positive impact on participants, Posh Club also increased opportunities for volunteering in the borough, supporting 41 volunteers over the course of the programme.