Space to Connect

Independent Arts receives ‘Space to Connect’ grant to boost community space

Press release, October 2019

Newport based charity, Independent Arts, has been awarded a £8,000 grant from a partnership between Co-op’s charity, the Co-op Foundation, and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

Independent Arts will use ‘Space to Connect’ funding to hold a series of creative and accessible community consultations with current and future stakeholders to evidence the case for a shared community space. It is one of 57 organisations across England to receive a grant from the £1.6 million partnership, designed to help communities tackle loneliness by improving and protecting local spaces that bring people together.

Space to Connect follows commitments made in the Government’s Civil Society and Loneliness Strategies, published in 2018, to help create sustainable community hubs and spaces where they are most needed.

Funding also builds on the Co-op Foundation’s work to strengthen community spaces where people can connect and co-operate.

Kate Ball, Chief Executive of Independent Arts, said:

“We see daily through our project work with isolated individuals the effects that having a welcoming and supportive space to socialise and to meet others can bring. For some people, attending our community activities is the only chance they have to get out of the house and as such common spaces are vital to reducing social isolation.”

Minister for Civil Society, Baroness Barran, said:

“Strong communities play a crucial role in tackling loneliness and social isolation. This £1.6 million worth of funding will create and enhance local spaces that bring people together, encouraging them to make new and lasting friendships. It is part of our ongoing commitment to work hand in hand with local communities to build a shared, integrated and socially responsible society.”

Jim Cooke, Head of the Co-op Foundation, said:

“Our Space to Connect partnership with Government builds on our commitment to strengthen communities and tackle loneliness through co-operation.

“Grants awarded today will empower people to work together to make better use of spaces to address local challenges, improving the well-being and skills of their whole community.”

Space to Connect was launched in June 2019, at the same time as Co-op’s Endangered Spaces campaign to protect, support and improve 2,000 community spaces by 2022.

About Co-op Foundation

● Co-op Foundation is the Co-op’s charity, helping communities UK-wide work together to make things better.
● Co-op Foundation is the leading charity tackling youth loneliness in the UK. By 2021its Belong programme will:
○ Connect and empower at least 7,500 young people to take action to tackle loneliness
○ Strengthen local youth services that provide vital support and opportunities
○ Engage at least 25,000 young people in a national conversation that breaks down the stigma of youth loneliness.
● Co-op Foundation provides interest-free loans and grants to help eligible organisations improve local spaces that strengthen communities, and grow their incomes so they can sustain these spaces longer-term.
● Co-op’s Endangered Spaces campaign is part of Co-operate 2022 - Co-op’s wider community vision for the next three years that will see it work on key areas that make communities stronger - community spaces, wellbeing, and education and skills.


About Space to Connect

● Space to Connect is a joint partnership between DCMS and the Co-op Foundation, with both parties investing £800,000.
● Support is split into two strands: organisations receiving ‘Enhance’ grants of up to £50,000 will use the investment to expand activities in spaces to make them more sustainable. ‘Explore’ partners will use up to £10,000 to identify ways to make better use of spaces so they can address challenges, like loneliness and access to community activities.
● Applications to this fund are now closed. ‘Explore’ projects will have the opportunity to apply for further Space to Connect funding in March 2020 to continue their work.


Independent Arts is keen to find new ways for people to connect through arts. Above Independent Arts PPUG (People's Pop-up Gallery) in Newport High Street.