£1.3 million distributed in Hull to tackle loneliness

Largest amount ever distributed by Two Ridings into one city.

Regional grant maker, Two Ridings Community Foundation is thrilled to announce that a further £1.1 million in funding is being distributed to community organisations in Hull over the next two years to boost volunteering and tackle loneliness. On top of £135,333 distributed earlier this year, this takes the total to £1.3 million.

This is the largest amount ever to the be distributed by the foundation into one city, and is a unique opportunity for people all over Hull to flourish and thrive from a connected community sector encouraging people to volunteer and to create activities and support to reduce social isolation.  

A panel made up of local people came together to make the decision, after 45 groups made applications. 14 community groups have been successful with grants ranging from £10,000 to £150,000.

The successful groups are:

  • Age UK Hull And East Riding
  • Citizens Advice Hull and East Riding
  • City Of Hull Sport and Community Group CIC
  • Forum
  • Friends Of Pelican Park
  • Goodwin Development Trust
  • Groundwork North Yorkshire
  • Hull Community and Voluntary Services (Hull CVS)
  • Hull Community Church
  • Humber All Nations Alliance
  • Humber Job Hub CIC
  • Neighbourhood Network
  • Rooted In Hull
  • Timebank Hull & East Riding

Celia McKeon, Chief Executive of Two Ridings explained:

“We know that local community groups, knowledgeable about Hull and the issues people face, have got the expertise, creativity, and connections to respond effectively to loneliness. We are delighted to be able to provide substantial funding to support their efforts.

“Loneliness is a key societal problem not only in Hull but throughout the country, so this is an amazing opportunity to really tackle it, to learn about what works, and also to encourage more volunteering all over the city, making the outcomes more sustainable.

“The largest grant is for £150,000 for Humber All Nations Alliance who, working in partnership with seven other organisations, are creating a Volunteer to Build project to enable Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities in Hull to be socially active through volunteering and to support activities to reduce isolation.

“The panel saw how this project really brings together communities in Hull who work with refugees, asylum seekers and first-generation immigrants tackling a wide range of issues they face.”

Of the fourteen projects funded, many are working in partnership with other organisations in Hull to ensure the funding both supports as many residents as possible, and also forges long lasting connections in the sector for years to come.

This is a multi-year funding project, ending in March 2025, which means the organisations have chance to really test out what works and fine tune the long-term solutions for meaningful societal change.

Other groups funded include Age UK Hull who are creating a befriending programme specifically targeting chronically isolated older people, and older people in the LGBTQ+ and minority ethnic communities, which not only breaks down the barriers people face in getting out of the home, but also enables them to make the journeys to reach the social activities and support they require.

Timebank are working with Friends of Alderman Kneeshaw Park to connect the community around the park, encouraging all the people in the neighbourhood to use their strengths to co-produce a better community for everyone.

Rooted in Hull are opening up new opportunities to volunteer at the project which includes a shared meal at each session from food the volunteers have helped to grow. As well as a sense of purpose and the ability to increase people’s self-esteem, they hope the project will reach many of Hull’s most marginalised people and break the cycle of poor mental health associated with chronic isolation.

Celia went on to say:

“As funders, we are very privileged to have this opportunity to really affect change. I can’t wait for the projects to happen and see the impact they will have on people.

“Usually, Two Ridings fund small grants of around £4,000, distributing around 600 a year across North and East Yorkshire. Having a larger amount to invest solely in the city of Hull is a new experience for us.

“There was a huge volume of strong applications, resulting in some tough choices. We are delighted with the decisions made and look forward to working alongside the groups to really make a difference.”

Francis Ahiakpa, Chief Officer at Humber All Nations Alliance said:

“We are grateful for this opportunity to further support our communities and tackle loneliness and isolation.

“We want the residents of Hull to be more economically and socially active through volunteering. We want to provide support, through a network of community organisations, that build the capacity of ethnic minority groups to help and support each other and become self-sustaining.  

“HEY Confident Futures has been crucial in bringing our leaders together. This funding will help the Leadership Advocacy Group create a brighter future for the communities we support throughout Hull.”

Harriet Johnson, Head of Programmes and Partnerships at Two Ridings said:

“Hull is a vibrant city with lots of great organisations and leaders already making a huge impact on the lives of many people.

“Distributing over a million into that network of people and communities will ensure innovative projects that were much needed, but seemingly impossible to pull off, a reality.

“What’s going to happen is so exciting. It has the potential to improve the wellbeing of the entire city, because the projects will reach deep into communities often left out when support is available, and people will work together – collaboratively – to really strengthen society.

“Because the funding is spread over two years, I envisage this having a lasting positive impact on Hull, way beyond the end of the funding.”

Further details of each project supported as follows:


Age UK Hull’s ‘Community Companions’ programme supports lonely and socially isolated older people to get out and about, by matching them with trained volunteers. These volunteers support older people to address any barriers they face in going out, such as anxiety and a lack of confidence and offer support to help clients take steps in leaving the house to ‘make journeys’. Journeys include the use of public transport, community transport, taxis, or could simply be a walk in the local area.

    These “journeys” will then “take” clients to positive social activities and support them to engage with such activities. The project will focus specifically upon 3 main client groups:

    • Chronically isolated and lonely older people
    • Older BME community members
    • Older LGBTQ community members


    Citizens Advice Hull and East Riding in partnership with Age UK Hull will develop and deliver a new volunteer internship programme shared between the two organisations. This will see volunteers spend 6 months at each charity to develop their skills, create friendships and bonds and meaningful volunteering, and come away as interns, leading to volunteering and potential employment with a larger skill base and more opportunities than just going through one volunteer training programme.


    Using sport to inspire positive change, City of Hull’s ‘Recruit into Coaching’ is a place-based programme focused on empowering 120 young adults aged 18 to 34 living within two ‘at-risk’ ward areas in Hull who are either facing challenges with loneliness or are at high risk of doing so with the skills, confidence, and knowledge to lead their best lives.

    Delivered by City of Hull and Hull FC Community Foundation it involves delivering 6, twelve-welk interventions within their locality, each support ten participants with a focus on tackling prevalent inequalities driving loneliness, and in doing so, empower healthier, more resilient futures.


    Forum is creating a capacity building programme to connect all the organisations in the Know Your Neighbourhood programme, and those interested in loneliness and volunteering, to improve the impact of the funding on the ground.

    They are facilitating a steering group for the project, a partnership brokerage service, bespoke training programmes and one on one organisational development support to ensure the programme succeeds and is sustainable in the long term.


    Friends of Pelican Park’s ‘Do Something’ project will encourage young people to get involved in volunteer opportunities in a sport and recreation environment, on their doorstep. The project will offer young people the chance to gain skills, experience, and qualifications in the following areas:

    • Sport and sport coaching
    • Office administration, social media, photoshop
    • Catering – food bank/meals on wheels for the elderly
    • Gym Instructor – through the community gym and fitness suite
    • Schools – working closely with staff to deliver sessions within schools


    Goodwin Development Trust is extending its Thornton Befriending Project delivered by a wide range of partners throughout Hull. It recognises that individuals are experts in their own situations and uses that knowledge to improve social and digital inclusion and look at financial and mental health support. Volunteers will be recruited, and activities created in a larger geographical area than they currently cover, reducing loneliness and isolation.


    Groundwork’s ‘Shed Bite Size’ project will deliver a programme of new practical skills and learning to engage people who are suffering chronic loneliness; and build skills of existing volunteers; and support the progression of participants into volunteering.

    `Shed Bite Size’ will provide 4 x 6 weeks Bite Size courses in:

    • Pattern making

    • Dress making

    • Upholstery

    • Carpentry/cabinet making skills

    The ‘Shed Bite Size’ courses it will enable Groundwork to continue to build the skills of participants to volunteer, help volunteers develop new skills and enable them to increase the number of new participants.


    Hull CVS are creating a ‘Connection Catalyst’ project to combat loneliness and create connection throughout the city. It will be delivered firstly via a loneliness conference to gather knowledge and learning and then creating activities throughout the city that directly address loneliness. It will also involve a buddy programme specifically aimed at older people.


    Hull Community Church’s project at Oasis Hub Hull will build on their existing ‘Open House’ work where they welcome everyone and anyone in to participate and treat their space like their second home. Everyone joins together for connection, friendship and food. Everyone listens, laughs and supports one another. This is not a service, but a place for the community be together. Through that approach they help people with the highest need further and engage with people we are not currently working with.

    They are going to trial three different ways of doing this  – mentoring, small group activities and volunteering  – to understand which will make the most difference for their community. Open House meets many people’s needs in relation to chronic loneliness.


    The ‘Volunteer to Build’ project will bring together much needed support services to enable the Black, Asian and minority (BAME) ethnic communities of Hull to be more economically and socially active through volunteering and related support activities, which will also reduce social isolation in the target group.

      This application is on behalf of a collective of ethnically minoritized leaders working with refugee and asylum seekers and first-generation immigrants to the city called the Leadership Advocacy Network (LAN). They aim to have “One voice, a brighter future for ethnic minoritized communities in Hull, East Yorkshire & Humber region.”

      The organisations making up the Leadership Advocacy Network are:  Amazing Grace Chapel, Toranj Tuition, Solidarity Hull CIC, Welcome House, Youth Aspire Connect, Borashabaa Refugee Community Organsation, Humber Community Advice Services


      Humber Job Club want to produce a clear volunteer to employment pathway in Hull that increases the number of volunteers in the city, particularly focusing on unemployed/economically inactive or marginalised people. This will also improve their wellbeing, confidence and life circumstances.

        They are doing this in three stages, spending time on research and discussions with current users of their service, then co-developing a programme with the learning gained along side service users and partner organisations. Finally they will share findings and outcomes to create a meaningful volunteer to employment pathway that works for local people.

        Their unique approach will match up people who would benefit from volunteering with organisations who need volunteers and they will train two new volunteers with lived experiences upskill, encourage and boost the confidents of people participating so they can become volunteers.


        Neighbourhood Network would like the funding to take the learning from round one’s community consultation results to support a regular programme of activities in the coming year that can deliver community activities, improve well-being for residents and eventually pride of place through volunteering at the Alf Marshall Community Centre. This would consist of:

          • Older peoples social club to include bingo (target 20 people)
          • Coffee morning drop-in (target 10 people)
          • Arts and Crafts (target 10 people)
          • Midweek fitness class (target 15 people)
          • Parent and toddler group (15 people)
          • Computing skills (6 people)

          ROOTED IN HULL

          Rooted in Hull is creating a 2 year ‘Gather and Grow’ project to encourage regular volunteering amongst the many people who ‘pop in’ to the project. They offer a supportive and friendly space for lots of local people who are marginalised in society to come to, but with two new people employed and volunteer sessions 3 days a week , which includes a shared meal as part of every session and activities, they hope to offer a more structured project that draws in volunteers to help others.

          Through ‘Gather and Grow’ people will gain skills and a sense of purpose, increasing their self-esteem, and have the opportunity to chat and be social. As well as this, the project will help break the cycle of poor mental health associated with chronic isolation.


          Timebank and Friends of Alderman Kneeshaw Park want to work together to connect a community around the Park and within that support meaningful volunteering, increase volunteer engagement and engage with people who currently aren’t participating in activities.

            Friends of Alderman Kneeshaw Park have already made huge inroads in promoting social inclusion and reducing loneliness in the area  through creating a welcoming, safe park full of activities the community wanted to happen. Timebank is well established in their asset-based community development which has a fresh approach to volunteering as a mechanism for reciprocity – where everyone has something to contribute and everyone has needs. This project is the two organisations coming together encouraging the whole community to use their strengths to and co produce a better community for all.