In association with the Aviva Community Fund 2017
The Aviva Community Fund 2017 funding winners have now been announced with over 590 community groups being awarded funding from the Aviva Community Fund, ranging from up to £1,000 to £25,000! (Click here to find winners from your local area.)
As you know, last year I wrote about Farsley Celtic Girls FC, a local group from Leeds who were awarded funding from the Aviva Community Fund in 2016. They used the money to buy new football kits for the members.
This year, I was lucky enough to visit Twinkleboost who recently found out they had been awarded £4,926 by the Aviva Community Fund this year that will help make a real difference in our local area.
Twinkleboost, based in Greater Manchester, works to deliver speech and language training to parents in deprived communities. Research has shown that vocabulary at the age of five is the best predictor of whether children experiencing social deprivation are able to escape poverty later in life.
As a primary school teacher myself with experience of working in one of the most deprived postcodes in the country, I know all too well the impact the that speech and language can have on children’s progress at school so I was really excited to hear about Twinkleboost and find out more about how the project works and what they will spend the money on.
The weekly classes, for babies age 0 – 18 months, are run by Speech and Language Therapy Assistants and each session is based around a story interwoven with activities and sensory experiences as well as clearly explained speech and language techniques and signing. This isn’t just an airy fairy nice way to get out of the house for an hour with your baby – there’s a real purpose to the session.
The Twinkleboost programme not only supports the language development of the babies who are attending, but empowers and equips their parents with the skills to promote language development at home. This is done to such a high level that parents who attend seven or more Twinkleboost sessions are actually awarded with a certificate in “Supporting Speech and Language development in the Early Years”. For some parents, this certificate has been a foot in the door to their next job. And, on top of supporting parents and their children, Twinkleboost offers opportunities for volunteers to come and help out, often Speech and Language students who want to build on their placement experience. The effects of the project are far reaching.
And yet, despite this high–level speech and language work, the group is just a whole lot of fun and laughter – which frankly is just how learning should be! The people attending the session I visited this week were so warm and welcoming and they clearly all loved attending the group. I chatted to one parent who had been bringing her little girl for about 8 months and another who was attending her very first session and couldn’t wait to return the following week. Parents can sign up to the class on a weekly basis (many are provided free of charge via local Sure Start centres, others charge a small fee to cover costs) with up to 12 babies in each group.
I was particularly impressed to discover that as well as the 30 – 40 minute Twinkleboost session each week, parents are sent an email after the session to consolidate their learning – giving them tips and tricks to try out at home and reminding them of the techniques learned in class as well as YouTube videos and additional support on social media. As I said, this isn’t just an hour out of the house with your baby. Twinkleboost is making a difference.
Last year Twinkleboost worked with 259 parents and 285 children in some of the most deprived areas in Greater Manchester. Now, thanks to the funding from the Aviva Community Fund, it is able able to reach even more families to empower them with skills to help break the cycle of poverty.
Community groups such as Twinkleboost or Farsley Celtic Girls FC are more than just something to do each week. The effects that these groups have on their members and families go so far beyond that; boosting confidence, teaching new skills and providing potentially life changing opportunities. 32 millions Brits have felt the positive impact of community groups and, with the help of the Aviva Community Fund, this will continue the be the case.
Twinkleboost is just one of over 590 projects and charities that secured funding from the Aviva Community Fund this year. The nationwide initiative, now in its third year, launched in September 2015, called upon passionate residents to submit a project close to their heart to be in with a chance of securing funding ranging from up to £1,000 to £25,000.
Over 6,500 groups entered the funding initiative, each galvanising the support of their local community to vote for their entry in four categories: Health & Wellbeing, Skills for Life, Community Support, and Inclusivity.
5.5 million votes were placed this year and the 828 groups with the highest votes were shortlisted as finalists. Awards in the £1k category were decided on by public votes, with winners in the £5k, £10k and £25k categories selected from the finalists by a judging panel.
Don’t forget to have a look and see which groups in your local area received funding, and if you know a group who might benefit from funding in the future make sure you tell them about the Aviva Community Fund
If you’d like to find out about other Aviva Community Fund winners and find out who won in your local area, visit this page here .