Alison Perry

Alison Perry

How involved are you in your local community? It's so easy to shut out what's going on right outside your front door, only focusing on what happens inside your four walls. After all, we're so busy these days working, meeting friends, seeing family and we've often got our heads down looking at a screen - so it's very easy to miss what's going on around us.

Since becoming a mum five years ago, I've realised the importance of my local community. Not only was I more reliant on people in the area when I had a newborn - for friendship, for support and using local baby groups and classes - but since then, I've become more tuned in to everything around me. When we become parents, our eyes open to the world in a way that they never have before. How easy is it to cross that nearby busy road and do we need a crossing? Why are they closing our local library when it's somewhere I could take my child? I'm much more aware of the ways in which I can support my local community and I've started to speak to some of my local charities about how I can help them.

It's more important than ever to support your local community and it's never been easier to find something nearby that you can help with. New research* by Aviva has found that 97% of British families are now involved in local community groups, projects or charities so there are certainly plenty of opportunities out there. Gov.uk has a handy search facility (https://www.gov.uk/find-a-community-support-group-or-organisation) which allows you to enter your postcode and find local community groups. You can also consider the elements of your community that matter most to you - whether it's a youth group, working with the elderly, volunteering with a local charity or helping at a food bank, they all need people to help them.

Yet despite all the fantastic volunteers, sadly four out of five community groups are not confident that they can raise sufficient funds to remain active in the next financial year. That's why initiatives such as the Aviva Community Fund are such a brilliant idea. Community groups can apply for funding and ask their supporters to vote for them to receive the money they so badly need. It's a great way to inject vital cash into projects that matter. From scout groups and charities that help families in poverty to organisations that mentor young people - they've all been getting involved. So why not take your first step in supporting your local community by voting for a project in your hometown.

Battersea Summer Scheme kids
Battersea Summer Scheme kids

From June 4th, head to the Aviva website (https://community-fund.aviva.co.uk/) to see which groups have made it through to the finals!

And don't stop there. Your support is needed so do get involved where and when you can.

*research conducted by Onepoll with 2,000 respondents across the UK.


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