McLaughlin & Harvey, the lead contractor for Birmingham City Council at the Alexander Stadium Redevelopment, has announced a second round of the You Matter Communities scheme — with a focus being placed on tackling the local impact of COVID-19.
The scheme, open to all Birmingham-based community organisations, offers support to local communities, such as volunteer time, small grants, and the use of excess materials from the construction process.
The first round of the You Matter Community Fund in August 2020 had an overwhelming response with applications received from across Birmingham. In total there were 17 community projects across the city that benefitted from grants worth a combined total of £15,000.
Projects were selected based on their ability to meet McLaughlin & Harvey’s social value objectives and the Partners in Communities measures of the Council’s Birmingham Business Charter for Social Responsibility.
Some of the winning projects included nature-based projects that engage people who are socially-excluded in improving the environment, sporting projects that increase access for marginalised groups and mental health community activities that are helping to address some of the impacts of COVID-19.
And now, as communities across Birmingham continue to deal with high levels of uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the second round of the You Matter Communities scheme will be focused on supporting community organisations to recover from the impacts and to help people and communities experiencing disproportionate challenges to build back to a new and improved normal.
McLaughlin & Harvey recognise the impacts to physical and mental health of people affected by COVID-19, and this round will allow them to identify those groups who have been hit the hardest and to understand what their urgent needs are.
Martin Keys, McLaughlin & Harvey Operations Director for Alexander Stadium, said: “You Matter Communities is a fantastic scheme that benefits communities organisations and social enterprises across Birmingham. We are extremely proud to launch the second round of You Matter Communities and provide support to local community projects who have been impacted by the pandemic.”
The scheme has three strands:
- Support is at hand through the You Matter Communities TimeBank, an innovative way of matching skills from the construction team with local social enterprises and community organisations.
- Birmingham-based social enterprises and community organisations can apply for volunteer support. Volunteers have previously helped to upgrade a road at a local allotment, contribute as a board member to a local social enterprise and designed an outdoor shelter for a community hub. This time around, volunteers could, for example, help complete a community project or support activities that inspire young people or help develop employability skills.
- To avoid waste and protect the environment, the You Matter Communities ResourceBank offers community projects free access to excess and unused materials from the construction of Alexander Stadium. This includes off-cuts, over-ordered materials, salvaged materials or seconds.
In this next round, the You Matter Communities Fund will offer £15,000 of small grants of up to £1,000 to community groups to help people come together and make a difference locally.
Cllr Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “Having seen for myself some of the work done in our neighbourhoods as a result of the You Matter Communities scheme, I know this package of support from our main contractor McLaughlin & Harvey is making a positive difference for many people and the organisations that have received support through the programme.
“It’s great when we have project partners who are truly committed to being good community partners and we look forward to being able to support many more groups through this second round of bidding.
“I would urge everyone to spread the word and make sure the groups they know of put in proposals this time around.”
The second round of the You Matter Communities scheme is open for applications from January 25th to February 25th of this year.