'Make It Happen' event returns to Dudley

Community groups and enthusiastic individuals are set to benefit from a funding and skill sharing project being held next month.

The next round of ‘Make it Happen' an innovative way to fund community projects will be held on Saturday 16 March.

The project brings together active individuals, residents and community groups who present a three minute pitch and bid for funding from the council’s public health team. Everyone around the table then collectively decides which projects to fund and groups walk away with a guaranteed pot of funding to deliver a project which will benefit their community.

The project is unusual in that it also looks wider than just providing funding. All the people and groups involved are asked what else they can share to help others. This could be skills, volunteers, knowledge, free venues, time, suggestions, ideas and practical resources such as, benches, seeds, and much more.

Make it Happen helps community groups and active individuals to connect, share skills and resources and develop friendships and working relationships which allow them to support each other’s projects. This helps projects to develop and become more sustainable. So far 20 ideas have already been turned into action, with around 120 people coming together at two informal, relaxed, creative events in April and October 2018.

Previous projects have included a ‘Can you hear the music’ silent disco using headphones and audio equipment for autistic people, giving them the opportunity to have fun and socialise in a safe space. The group is looking to lease their equipment to similar groups, helping to make the project more sustainable. ‘Action Art’ which provides arts and crafts classes and teaching to parent carers benefitted from a small amount of funding, bringing together people who can otherwise feel isolated and stressed. The group is now connected with another women’s group and is self-funding through fayres and fundraising.

Other projects include community gardens and food growing projects such as ‘Grow it, cook it, eat it!’ which works with people with learning disabilities and their community to grow, harvest, produce and share the food they make. They now serve up food in their coffee shop and have received formal catering training from Lunch on the Run. Councillor Cathryn Bayton, cabinet member for health and adult social care, said:

"Make it Happen is a brilliant way of bringing together like-minded people with a real desire to help those in their communities. By offering to share skills, expertise and time, the groups who come to the table walk away with so much more than a pot of money.

"We’ve seen people bloom and grow in confidence through delivering these projects and more importantly making connections with other community-focussed people, helping to take their projects in new directions and ensure sustainability. The next round is sure to be popular so I’d recommend that people get in touch now to see if they can take part.”

The next Make it Happen event will be held on 16 March at the DY1 community building in Dudley. To apply to take part, you can email healthycommunities@dudley.gov.uk, telephone 01384 816892 or register online.


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