NWN wins grant to help protect older people from fraud in Thames Valley

Neighbourhood Watch has received a Government grant to bring communities together through volunteering in the Thames Valley area.

● Neighbourhood Watch is one of 16 organisations selected to take part in Connected Communities Innovation Fund.
● The Connected Communities Innovation Fund is a partnership between Nesta and the Office for Civil Society at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).
● Neighbourhood Watch will receive £74,987 to develop a volunteer-led support programme for older people who have experienced fraud, or are at greater risk of being a victim of fraud, by working in partnership with local police, victim support and charities.
● The Connected Communities Innovation Fund forms part of a series of live funds from Nesta and DCMS to mobilise volunteers alongside public services and grow the most impactful interventions that change lives.

The grant of £74,987 is part of a £2.7 million Connected Communities Innovation Fund, delivered in partnership with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and innovation foundation Nesta, which will support people and places to thrive through the power of volunteering in communities across the country.

The fund also builds on the work already underway between DCMS and Nesta to encourage people of all ages to volunteer and to ensure people see social action as a routine part of their lives.

Neighbourhood Watch is one of 16 grantees who will receive a portion of the fund, with projects using the money to develop and test early stage ideas as well as scaling programmes which are currently having a positive impact.

Neighbourhood Watch is responding to the greater risk of fraud among older people and the lack of reporting of fraudulent incidents by trialling community-based solutions. We’re seeking to reduce fraud risks by: enhancing the knowledge of their existing volunteer network about how to prevent fraud, encouraging increased neighbourliness where a culture of people helping each other safeguards against fraudsters taking advantage of others, and spreading messages to the wider community to prevent incidents but also increase fraud reporting when an incident does happen, thereby enabling the police and other public services to respond effectively.

Jayne Pascoe, Strategic Partnerships Director at NWN, said: “We are absolutely delighted to be a grantee and we are keen to start our project in the Thames Valley area this summer. Neighbourhood Watch volunteers already play a key role in creating stronger and safer communities and we’re looking forward to supporting our volunteers to take their existing work to the next level and protecting vulnerable people from becoming victims of fraud.”

Tracey Crouch, Minister for Sport and Civil Society said: “Volunteering has a hugely beneficial impact on people’s lives. It has the power to harness community spirit and strengthen local areas by improving people’s wellbeing and decreasing social isolation.

“This investment will create more opportunities for people to share their skills while supporting people in need – it will also help provide a rewarding experience for the volunteers themselves. I am looking forward to seeing the impact it has on a range of areas over the next few years.”

Carrie Deacon, Head of Social Action Innovation at Nesta, said: “We know that when citizens share their time, knowledge and skills alongside public services, communities can achieve great things together. By supporting these innovative social action projects to develop and grow we know they will transform lives and make a significant impact on some of the biggest social challenges we face. We’re excited to be supporting these projects over the next two years.”

You can find out more information about Connected Communities Innovation Fund here