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Bottesford's Friendly Bench awarded £240,000 in lottery funding

A village community project has been awarded more than £240,000 from the National Lottery to help tackle loneliness and social isolation.

The Friendly Bench CIC in Bottesford has received £242,713 from the National Lottery Community Fund to help the project continue its work to reduce loneliness, social isolation and create more cohesive, age friendly neighbourhoods in more communities across England.

The Friendly Bench CIC will use the funds to work with groups who have identified loneliness as a problem in their community and deliver a purposefully designed and located kerbside community garden to help improve the quality of life for the elderly, socially isolated and those with limited mobility.

Friendly Bench turned one on Sunday. (8048434)
Friendly Bench turned one on Sunday. (8048434)

It is the latest achievement for The Friendly Bench CIC, which was was launched in Bottesford in March 2018 by founder Lyndsey Young after she experienced loneliness herself and found that many in her own community also felt socially isolated and disconnected from where they lived.

It quickly became a great success, providing regular volunteering opportunities for more 20 people and engaging more than 500 attendees at one or more of the monthly volunteer-led activities/events.

Big Walk reaches The Friendly Bench. (2222962)
Big Walk reaches The Friendly Bench. (2222962)

The National Lottery Community Fund distributes money raised by National Lottery players for good causes. It will see further ‘The Friendly Benches’ created across England enabling regular volunteering for more than 50 people across the network and providing a resting place and meeting point for over 10,000 casual users.

Ladies enjoying ice cream Sunday at The Friendly Bench.(3687286)
Ladies enjoying ice cream Sunday at The Friendly Bench.(3687286)

Lyndsey added: “We are thrilled that The National Lottery Community Fund has recognised our work in this way. We will be able to bring more people together and help them build stronger, more connected, healthier communities. This is important because it helps people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds develop positive relationships and trust with each other, have a sense of belonging, identity and acceptance.”

Joyce, 75, lives in Bottesford and is a regular visitor to the bench. She added: “My neighbour who recently lost her husband and I come here often. It’s a lovely place. You always get into a conversation. It’s good for us to mix with other people, especially the kiddies.”

If you are a community group and would like to know more, visit: www.thefriendlybench.co.uk

Residents tucked into ice cream last weekend. (3827500)
Residents tucked into ice cream last weekend. (3827500)


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