Great News For Rawmarsh As High Street Centre Ltd Scoops £200k+ Lottery Grant!

The High Street Centre has been awarded over £200,000 by the National Lottery Fund to help lonely and vulnerable people across Rawmarsh and Parkgate.

The High Street Centre will build on its existing work with the local community to develop the ‘Stronger Together’ project, designed by the people who currently use the centre to extend their work and help the most isolated people living in the area.

The project will bring together up to 250 local people to take part in weekly social activities, helping them to make lasting friendships, to become more confident and to enable them to connect with other groups and events already taking place. The activities will have a wide range, including crafts, fitness and social groups and those taking part will be encouraged to support each other.

More than 750 people from 53 different groups already use the High Street Centre. ‘Stronger Together’ will enable the centre to connect with others by providing an outreach for those who remain lonely and isolated, often without a network of family and friends to provide help and support. It has been announced today (March 6) that the centre will receive £215,000 over a four year period.

“It’s all about bringing people together, being a friendly face, offering a kind word and building the trust and confidence that we’re here to help,”

says Nicola Sharpe, the newly-appointed Stronger Together Project Co-ordinator.

“The connections we have made and the local knowledge we have built since the High Street Centre was set up in 2002 means we are really well-placed to do this. We have the passion and the commitment to make a difference in people’s lives.”

John Healey, MP for Wentworth and Dearne, has long been a supporter of the High Street Centre, and welcomed the additional funding. He said:

“We know that overcoming loneliness and social isolation can have a huge positive effect on someone’s mental and physical health and wellbeing. If just one person is stronger, then we are all stronger as a community.

There are so many people in our communities that just need a friendly face and a helping hand to get involved. I’m delighted that the High Street Centre will now have the funding to extend the excellent work they’ve been doing locally for more than 10 years.”

In addition to making initial contact, Nicola will have a key role in ensuring each individual feels able to make their own choices about what they enjoy and the type of activity they want to get involved in. She will then accompany them and provide one to-one support.

Where necessary, the possibility of establishing a new group or activity will be explored and over time, those benefiting from the project will be supported to become volunteer leaders and local ambassadors, using their own experiences to encourage others.

Where the High Street Centre is unable to provide for the specific needs of an individual, the team will signpost to other facilities and opportunities in the Rotherham area. From year two of the project, Nicola will visit every group in the local area to gain first-hand experience of how groups are run, both on-site and off-site.  This local knowledge will then be used to influence how individuals are signposted, making sure that their expectations are met and offering a supported but self-chosen route.

Also included in the plan is the development of a new voluntary Community Membership Scheme to which local groups and organisations can sign up. Its aim will be to develop common standards and commitment around collaboration, diversity and professionalism, with a common understanding of how people with often complex needs can be welcomed, supported and developed.

Caroline Langston is the High Street Centre Development Manager and working with existing service users, led on the development of the successful bid. Said Caroline:

“Everyone at The High Street Centre is so excited about starting this new project in Rawmarsh and supporting local people.  We are very grateful to all the National Lottery Players for making this work possible.”