15 May 2024

Funding award helps Burntwood community centre support residents


Burntwood community centre Spark is celebrating a funding award from Lichfield District Council which will help it continue to support residents for years to come.

The registered charity and family centre provides a wide range of weekly support from its base in the grounds of Springhill Academy in Mossbank Avenue including pregnancy, baby, toddler and child sessions, parenting advice and wellbeing courses together with financial and crisis support.

Its community fridge sees volunteers collect surplus fresh produce from supermarkets for people in need while a baby bank offers clothing, toys, equipment, nappies and toiletries.

Spark, which has some 60 volunteers, also serves as a venue for community events such as forest school and offers groups for grandparents, parents and carers.

The £65,052 in Community and Voluntary Sector Funding it has secured over three years will support its Connections project which has created a hub of support in Burntwood for a wide range of partners to provide services. This money will be used to fund staff to deliver the project including Spark’s ‘Community Connector’ who provides one-to-one support and referrals for residents in difficulty.  

Spark has proved to be an extremely popular community facility helping hundreds of people from Burntwood and across the Lichfield District. During a six month period last year there were 1,487 activity attendances and 249 sessions delivered as part of a community project to tackle social isolation, wellbeing and financial resilience issues.

Spark’s Chief Officer Esther Allen said: “We are delighted to have been chosen to receive this funding which enables us to respond to the changing needs of the community.

“Lichfield District Council understands who we are and what we do and does not put up unnecessary barriers. The funding will have a very positive impact.”

A Spark parent and volunteer Georgie Chetwood said: “As an apprehensive new mum I found the support from the team and various classes at Spark invaluable. In a world where you feel judged from every direction as a parent, Spark felt like such a safe non-judgemental space to talk openly.

“I found great comfort in attending the informative yet relaxed classes. Spark gave me a reason to get up and leave the house, opportunity to make new friends and gave me confidence and reassurance in navigating parenthood. My time as a volunteer has also been so rewarding to give back to others what I’ve gained from Spark. I can’t thank the team enough.”

Lichfield District Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Engagement, Councillor Richard Cox, said: “Spark’s success validates the strategy we set out to follow, that of promoting community power to effect change.

“The community knows what it needs and Spark has delivered through its own expertise with the district council helping and supporting where it can.”

More information about sources of Community Funding in Lichfield District is available on the Lichfield District Council website.

Pictured: Lichfield District Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Engagement, Councillor Richard Cox (back left) celebrates with Spark’s chief officer Esther Allen (middle, second from left), fellow staff and some mums and children who attend the centre.

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