A student at City of Wolverhampton College is celebrating after being awarded over £280,000 funding to run a community support project in her local area
Rachel Freeth, aged 35, from Moxley, who is studying for a higher education foundation degree in early years services at the college’s Wellington Road campus, has received £283,920 from the National Lottery Community Fund to run the project for the next three years.
The Moxley Community Care project – based at Moxley People’s Centre, in Queen Street – will provide a community cohesion café, and art and craft, healthy eating, knitting and sports sessions, as well as a homework club, befriending service, advice on producing a CV, and home visits for those who are unable to access the centre.
Rachel initially developed the scheme during the first lockdown in March 2020 when she became aware of the effects of isolation on older people in her area and, after working with a local councillor to offer a befriending service, was awarded £61,050 National Lottery funding to provide food parcels, home activity packs and essential medical and hygiene supplies to over 200 local residents in need.
Feedback from those accessing the service showed the need for a community space where families and young people could access social activities and advice and support, prompting Rachel to develop the project and apply for further funding to extend the scheme to make it accessible to everyone in the local area.
Rachel said: “Lockdown changed life dramatically for many people and, as a lone parent, I didn’t have a close network of support, so having lived experience helps me to relate to families’ concerns and understand the positive impact that affordable, accessible advice and activity sessions can have on people in the community.
“Being at the heart of this project and knowing the difference it can make is so rewarding – starting the foundation degree changed my life and the support I have received from my college tutor has given me the knowledge and skills to grow personally and professionally and enabled me to take charge and make a change for the future.
“I want to combine running the community project with competing my foundation degree and then want to progress to do a BA in Early Childhood Studies at the University of Wolverhampton, whilst continuing to support the community and continue making changes for future generations.”
Find out more about the project on the Moxley Community Care Facebook page or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Find out more about the foundation degree in early years services here