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Up to £10K funding available for COVID-19 support projects

Grants are now available to deliver COVID-19 support services for the over-50s.

Compass Support – the charitable arm of The Pioneer Group – is part of the Erdington Neighbourhood Network Scheme (NNS) which is working to ensure that older residents are supported during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Erdington NNS is encouraging organisations to apply for funding, which ranges from micro grants of up to £2,000 to £10,000 for larger projects.

Applications can be made to one of two local community service organisations:

For those based Castle Vale, Pype Hayes, Gravelly Hill or again Stockland Green, should contact Compass Support

Whilst groups working in in Perry Common, Kingstanding, Erdington or Stockland Green, groups should contact Witton Lodge Community Association.

Since the launch of Erdington NNS in September 2019, more than a dozen groups have received funding to deliver activities and provision – helping reduce isolation and boost wellbeing among the district’s older generation including the following in Castle Vale:

Twilight Over 50s group

Funding has helped to deliver chair-based exercise classes for residents with limited mobility. The weekly classes usually take place at the community centre and are taken by a tutor specialising in exercise for older people.

Members of the Twilight Over 50s group also receive regular newsletters through their letter boxes. Also available online, the newsletters provide tips on staying healthy, activity such as cross words and puzzles and stories about the area.

Think Positive, Be Positive group

Held at The Sanctuary, this regular group provides a friendly space for any residents to simply have a chat, and those with self-esteem, loneliness, depression or bereavement issues. This support group encourages new friendships and helps members to build a sense of purpose. A member explained how his move to Castle Vale left him feeling lonely and isolated. However, the group has given him an opportunity to become an active member of the community, and he now even runs a cycling based activity for other residents.

Recycled Teenagers

This group provides regular activities, such as bingo, day trips, and weekly get togethers, giving members a chance to “relive their youth.”

Funding available to help

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the groups are not meeting in person, but members and organisers are keeping in touch with outreach calls, and communication via WhatsApp and social media where possible.

With the social distancing regulations imposed around coronavirus, as many venues that house social engagement and group activities close their doors due to the pandemic, there is concern that residents who are vulnerable and in need of help are not being reached.

NNS is particularly keen to hear from organisations who could provide support on any of the following:

  • Health, wellbeing and advice services
  • Bereavement and associated support
  • Support for those experiencing domestic violence
  • Projects that tackle anti-social behaviour and its effects
  • Infrastructure and support services in Gravelly Hill and Pype Hayes wards

People can become isolated in many ways,” explains Sarah Powers, Health & Wellbeing Team Leader at Compass Support, part of The Pioneer Group, “it could be through the loss of a spouse, declining health, illness, disability or caring responsibilities, discrimination, prejudice and cultural isolation. We understand that chronic loneliness is not only horrible to experience day in, day out, but left unaddressed it can have a devastating effect on a person’s health and wellbeing.

This grant is a fantastic opportunity to better connect people and deliver meaningful outcomes to older, local residents. Whether the project provides access to emotional support or community engagement, all bids are welcome to help people aged 50+ to lead independent, happy and healthy lives.

To find out more about the Erdington Neighbourhood Network Scheme (NNS), visit

If you run a group in Castle Vale, Pype Hayes, Gravelly Hill or Stockland Green, please email:

If you run a group in Perry Common, Kingstanding, Erdington or Stockland Green, and want to apply for funding from the Erdington NNS, please email

NNS Funding The Pioneer Group Compass Support