Below are six examples – one for each area of Gloucestershire – of the ‘Small Sparks’ fund which has been created to help small groups get together and do something they enjoy which makes a difference to where they live.

The work is co-ordinated by the Barnwood Trust – a charitable foundation dedicated to creating the potential in Gloucestershire for people with disabilities and mental health challenges to make the most of their lives – with a grant from the Police and Crime Commissioner for Gloucestershire, Martin Surl. As a result, 47 groups around the county have shared nearly £12,000 from the Commissioner’s Fund.

It works like this: You might need equipment to set up a gardening club; books to get another club going; or wool and knitting needles for a group you are already a part of. Money from the Small Sparks fund could be all that’s needed to get it off the ground. Mr. Surl said,

“The whole point of Small Sparks is to bring people together and in doing so tackle the sense of isolation and vulnerability that many people feel, especially those who are older and live alone in rural communities”.

“These are all relatively small projects but they help to foster a spirit that makes our communities stronger. Making sure older people feel and remain and active in the community is one of my priorities”.

To qualify for a grant of up to £250 groups had to be a minimum of four, at least one of which had a disability or is an older person who would like to make more friends.

Here are some of the successful ones:

Garden Project at the Tewkesbury Dementia Day Care Centre

Amount awarded £250

Grant was used to purchase seed trays, seeds, compost and relevant equipment to enhance the life of people with dementia and their carers at the Tewkesbury Dementia Day-care Centre. Activities will involve growing flowers from seed, planting them out in planters, weekly maintenance and watering, clearing up at the end of the season. The project aimed to involve people who used the Day-care Centre and their carers who live locally or close by that are isolated.

Case study:

The Living Room, Cheltenham

Amount awarded £250

The Living Room is a community project that utilises the talents of local people to better the life of the whole community. It is a double fronted shop that has been developed as a mini resource centre for the area. The grant was used to install two reconditioned tower units. Volunteers at the Living Room give their time to help people use the computers, providing advice and training. This could be for anything from job searches to setting up an email account. The Living Room works on a drop in basis and the Digital Inclusion Project works in the same way. They have people of all ages, including older people using the space.

Phoenix Gardeners, Cirencester

Amount awarded £250

The grant was spent on progressing work with the Churn Project and the dementia care groups by providing additional plants, containers and equipment (e.g. trowels, wheel-barrows, gloves) so that people who do not have their own gardening tools can take part in our activities. The legacy of the grant will be a network of volunteers that encompasses all ages and abilities with a shared ambition to make the town more attractive through providing fantastic floral displays in Cirencester throughout the year.

Case study:

Cypress Gardens and Evergreen Walk Get-together, Gloucester

Amount awarded £250

The grant was used to pay for a street ‘get-together’ which involved all members of Cypress Gardens and Evergreen Walk in Longlevens. The £250 went towards BBQ food for everyone attending, soft drinks, paper plates and cups, a bouncy castle for the children and a sound system to play music during the event. People of all ages came along to the get-together including a lady who had recently been diagnosed with dementia.

Report on You’re Welcome website:

Hanover Court Tai Chi classes, Cinderford

Amount awarded £240

The grant enabled residents at Hanover Court to put on Tai Chi classes for residents and people from the local community. The aim was to give residents an opportunity to get together and get to know each other, whilst also involving people living in the local community, preventing people from becoming isolated.

Case study:


GL6 Sheltered Housing, Stroud

Amount awarded £250

The grant was used to make improvements to a communal lounge area. They bought curtains, cushions and wall art to brighten the area up and they also purchased kitchen equipment for people to use together. As a result the place is ‘positively buzzing’ and residents and