Financial boost to bolster support for Croydon’s community groups

Croydon’s voluntary sector is set to benefit from a cash injection to help tackle health inequalities in the borough, it was announced this week (Thursday 14 January).

The One Croydon alliance has been chosen as one of just six health partnerships in England to benefit from up to £500,000 as part of The Healthy Communities Together programme, established by The King’s Fund and The National Lottery Community Fund.

The funding will support partnership-working between the voluntary and community sector (VCS), the NHS and local authorities, and will help them make the most of their combined capability to improve the health of their communities.

During the first phase of the programme, each site will receive £50,000 in development funding from The National Lottery Community Fund plus support from The King’s Fund to develop new ways of working and foster stronger relationships between organisations.

A number of the areas will then progress to the second phase of the programme where up to £450,000 of additional funding will be made available to each area and leadership support will continue over the subsequent three to four years. In total, the programme will offer up to £3 million of grant funding and £850,000-worth of support.

One Croydon was selected from more than 270 applicants after demonstrating how it aims to tackle deep-rooted health inequalities and improve the links between health and care services and the communities they serve so that local needs can be better met.

Matthew Kershaw, Croydon’s Place Based Leader for Health described the funding as a huge, and timely, opportunity for the borough:

“The COVID-19 pandemic has rightly drawn attention to the health inequalities facing many of our residents and there’s never been a more important time to continue work to tackle these issues.

“We’ve got a vision to transform how we deliver care and our One Croydon alliance has been working hard to do this since 2017, empowering local people and communities and bringing together health and care to create cohesive services, but we know we need to do more to help reduce local health inequalities.

“We’ve already started this, with the launch of our Integrated Community Networks (ICN+) but this additional funding will give us the opportunity to expand this work and hear from people locally so that we can act on what they tell us, ensuring our residents get the support they need, when they need it and in the right place.”

Jill Kyne, Chief Executive at Age UK Croydon added:

“The voluntary and community sector in Croydon is incredibly strong and well placed to help people improve their wellbeing. We’ve have seen this in action in the collective local response to the pandemic and now we want to build on and develop an even better quality of partnership for our borough.”

We have huge differences in financial inequality and health inequality in Croydon, so we really need programmes that help us to meet the needs of people in different parts of the borough.”

Councillor Janet Campbell, Croydon Council’s cabinet member for families, health and social care, said:

“The One Croydon Alliance has already transformed the way borough residents get better joined-up care, but we and our partners in the local NHS and voluntary sector want to work even closer together to tackle residents’ health inequalities that have been further exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This funding will help us to further develop our plans to pool our resources and develop a single programme across health, social care and grassroots community organisations that meets the needs of all our residents and improves their quality of life.”

Commenting on the announcement, Richard Murray, Chief Executive of The King’s Fund, said:

“As shown throughout the past year, voluntary and community sector organisations play a pivotal role in improving the health of local communities – not only by providing the types of support public services struggle to offer, but also by acting as an important link between public bodies and the people they serve.

“The Healthy Communities Together programme will provide these six areas with the much-needed financial headroom and development support to build long-lasting partnerships. Through this, they should be well-placed to tackle some of the engrained inequalities that often leave the most-deprived communities facing the worst health outcomes.”

Elly De Decker, England Director at The National Lottery Community Fund, said:

“Through the Healthy Communities Together programme, we are investing in the potential of cross-sector partnerships to improve health outcomes for communities across England.

“This funding, raised by players of the National Lottery, will give voluntary and community organisations the much needed time and flexibility to build strong partnerships in their area to shape local health and care plans, thus unlocking their local knowledge and expertise for wider benefit.”