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Design Council receives £50,000 in National Lottery funding to support communities re-imagine a future against backdrop of COVID-19

Design Council receives £50,000 in National Lottery funding to support communities re-imagine a future against backdrop of COVID-19

1 October 2020

Design Council has received £50,000 in funding from The National Lottery Community Fund to build on and amplify the creativity and compassion seen in communities and across civil society during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The funding, made possible thanks to National Lottery players and building on funding from Local Trust and national Government, will enable Design Council to develop and test the emergent concept of a Community Design Network programme, involving 20 diverse community groups or individuals across the UK who are not professionally trained designers but have been using design mindsets. Design Council will bring them together to listen and share different experiences, narrate and tell their stories and to imagine, together, what is possible in the future.

The idea of a Community Design Network forms a core part of Design Council’s recently published Strategy 2020-24, in which increasing design skills across the UK is set out as a key priority. Over the next four years Design Council plans to work with national and local government to enable an additional 500 businesses, 5,000 community members, and 2,500 public servants and their stakeholders to use design skills in their work.

Part of the design process is not to jump to a solution, but rather do research first with a diverse group of people to understand their aspirations and needs, and what already exists. This funding will enable Design Council to do this in a way that also benefits the people involved, sharing skills and stories at the same time as imagining what a network could look like.

Using research and by working closely with Community Design Network programme participants, Design Council aims to:

  • learn more about the design skills communities and individuals (who would never call themselves as designers) are using, including the relationships they have formed and the external factors that have either hindered or helped them to thrive
  • showcase and share the stories of these community designers – using our platforms and networks to share their stories and learning, and inspire others
  • visualise and co-design what a supported network of community designers might look like
  • work with local government and charity networks to identify how they can work with this potential network as part of their ongoing remit to redesign services and places, building and recognising skills, and generating community wealth.

Design Council will share its learning from the programme over the next six months. To learn more about our work to build resilient communities, click here

Cat Drew, Chief Design Officer at Design Council says: “Every day people across the UK are using creativity, imagination, resourcefulness and adaptability – what we call ‘design mindsets’ – to do things differently and improve their communities. Our Community Design Network programme will enable us to reach out to people who are making a difference in their community, learn more about the work they’re doing, recognise their skills and amplify their stories. In doing so, we hope to give other people the confidence to imagine what they too could achieve in their communities and then take action. We are extremely grateful to all National Lottery players for making this possible.”

Design Council is one of 51 organisations across the UK to receive a grant of up to £50,000 through the Emerging Futures Fund. The funding, from the largest funder of community activity in the UK, will help harness the creativity of civil society and amplify the voices of communities through stories, narratives and public imagination projects.

Cassie Robinson, Senior Head of UK Funding at The National Lottery Community Fund, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has presented new challenges to communities across the UK and The National Lottery Community Fund has focused on getting much-needed emergency support out to communities and the sector. But it has also demonstrated the very best of civil society, which has met this huge challenge with creativity, commitment and a desire for change. We are now seeing new ways of doing things that we might not have thought of before. 

“Thanks to National Lottery players, these new grants will support communities to consider how they can face the immediate impact of COVID-19 but also look to the future. The activity conducted by these community groups and organisations will generate learning and insights, and create space and capacity in communities so that they are able to anticipate, imagine and shape the future.”

The Emerging Futures Fund is a key part of The National Lottery Community Fund’s commitment to enabling civil society to be fit for the future – supporting organisations and the voluntary sector to create opportunities to help local communities thrive.

Thanks to National Lottery players, up to £600 million has been made available to support communities throughout the UK during the Coronavirus crisis. The National Lottery is playing a critical role in supporting people, projects and communities during these challenging times. By playing The National Lottery, you are making an amazing contribution to the nationwide-response to combatting the impact of Covid-19 on local communities across the UK.

To find out more visit TNL Community Fund   

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