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Reflections on our Community Chest small grants 

Last year, Hackney Giving distributed £25,000 in small grants via a Community Chest programme. We have recently reflected on this grants programme and the challenges and successes that came with it.

The grants programme came about because statutory services had recognised that people living in City and Hackney experience barriers to accessing the health provision and financial support that they are entitled to. In response, the Community Chest Small Grants programme was set up to help reduce these barriers.

The programme was delivered by Hackney Giving and funded by Hackney Council and NHS North East London, using funding designed to tackle health inequalities. Grants of £2,500 were available for work towards “increasing access to health services and financial support for people living in Hackney and the City who experience barriers to provision.”

23 applications were received. 10 organisations were successful and were allocated £2,500 each. This included funding for community organisations working with older people, young people, people with mental health problems and people with cancer.

Several areas of success were highlighted by grant-holders. Each reported how they helped people access health and financial services:

“By addressing language, cultural, and digital barriers, our ongoing project is empowering individuals with IBD to access crucial health services and financial support, and is enhancing their well-being and quality of life.”
Crohn’s and Colitis Relief

“Participants were able to avail themselves of technology in the modern world given the increasing need to use technology post-Covid-19 pandemic in accessing GP services and engaging with the outside world… Many who have had negative experiences with learning new skills and technology were able to overcome their fears and anxiety in accessing online services.”
Skillspool Training

“The impact of community-led discussions and health information etc, was evidenced through, for example, observations, group social connectedness, feedback forms indicating residents feeling positive at the end of each session that conveyed their level of satisfaction with words that included “very helpful”, “supportive”, “encouraging”, “motivating”, “learned something new”.”
Beersheba Living Well

Sarah Watson, Development and Programme Manager, Hackney Giving, said: “The not-for-profit sector continued to demonstrate its effectiveness in increasing people’s access to health and financial information. The organisations we funded through the Community Chest made a real difference to people living in the City and Hackney, and the win-win nature of working in partnership with the statutory sector was proven once more.

“Funding is key for effective delivery and not-for-profit sector organisations need adequate resources to be able to do their work. At Hackney Giving and more widely within Hackney CVS we continue to advocate for the role of the not-for profit sector and the value these organisations add in working with communities, and to push for further, larger sums of funding.”


Image, above, taken at Beersheba Living Well’s health services for African and Caribbean heritage residents at high risk of Type 2 diabetes and poverty.

A full list of organisations we funded through the grants programme can be found here.

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