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Grants awarded to support community cohesion projects

Article date - 06 February 2020

Local community groups and charitable organisations are receiving grant funding from St Helens Council to promote social cohesion and inclusivity in the borough.
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Almost £45,000 was made available late last year by external agencies to fund projects delivered in St Helens for up to a year that address culture and social connections, health, language, communications or hate crime.

The grant winners got together at an event earlier this week at the Hope Centre, to meet each other and potential clients, as well as health, care and community support professionals.

Part of the funding programme was set up by the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and distributed to local councils to award focuses on supporting projects that aim to proactively break down barriers and tensions between different groups of people, and build a more cohesive and inclusive community for all.

Applicants were encouraged to form groups of several local charities and organisations to deliver proposed projects – like cooking sessions, tea mornings and allotments – more effectively together.

Café Laziz, the popular Arabic and English community café that offers a delicious range of tempting food all prepared by volunteers was among those to apply, securing £4,948.50 to support their work.

The café, named after the Arabic word for ‘delicious’, came from an idea by Debra Hill who works as an English language tutor with refugees and asylum seekers in St Helens, to help them learn vital skills for work while also encouraging them to practise their English and meet the communities they live in.

She set up a social enterprise called Our Little Corner of the World in St Helens (OLCOTWISH) and the first venture will see them run the café at Central Link Children’s Centre on Peter Street, every Thursday.

Debra said: “Cafe Laziz has been a great success so far as the volunteers are able to train in a real working environment and talk to the local community about their experiences. They are gaining Level 2 qualifications in Food Safety, Allergen Awareness and Customer Service. 

“You can see the volunteers grow in confidence each week. Thanks to this grant we have been able to buy the things required to enable us to function effectively. We have also been successful in gaining more funding in the second round which will enable us to extend our offer into Parr Children's Centre in the near future. It’s a very exciting time for us!”

The café has also been funded by Power to Change who have given £14,000 to get the café started.

Councillor Jeanie Bell, St Helens Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Safety, said: “Voluntary groups are at the heart of St Helens and are perfectly placed to create a more inclusive place for us to live in. And it’s often the little things that can help the most. We were overwhelmed with the responses from local people who wanted to help others, and I know that in their hands this grant funding will do great good throughout our communities.”

Among the other grant winners were: