A Wigan charity for people with disabilities had a special celebrity visit after securing £25k of community funds.
Reggie Yates made a visit to Embrace Wigan and Leigh, a group that works with disabled people to make them feel valued and improve their life skills.
The actor, DJ, and TV presenter stopped by their Ribble Road premises to experience first-hand how they’re building a stronger community.
Embrace was celebrating winning £25,000 from the Aviva Community Fund – of which Reggie is an ambassador – a grant which will enable them to launch a dating agency, after the charity’s beneficiaries made it clear that additional support and guidance in this area will help.
Captured in a short documentary, Embrace hosted a workshop where participants, including Reggie, shared dating tips. Demonstrating the impact this group has on its community and how the Aviva funding will help, Reggie spoke candidly with the change-makers responsible for making Embrace tick, and the young people benefitting from the project.
He said: “As a product of a community drama club, I know the positive impact they can have. I wouldn’t be in the position I am today if it wasn’t for my experience at the Anna Scher Theatre. I loved visiting Embrace and experiencing first-hand the inspirational, life-changing work they are doing for their community.”
Chris Hamnett, Fieldwork Manager at Embrace Wigan and Leigh said: “Our organisations began because disabled people and their families no longer wanted professionals making decisions about the support they needed. They wanted to make that decision for themselves.
“The Aviva Community Fund win means that we can yet again maintain this user-led ethos that we have had for 19 years, as the dating service comes from a direct request from our beneficiaries.
“The nerves around dating are not exclusive to any community, so having Reggie visit and share his equal share of dating faux pas was great for the others that attended the session.”
Tom Daniell, UK Retail & Brand Director at Aviva said: “This film shows only a tiny glimpse of what groups like this achieve and are a great way of showing us the challenges that they face day to day. Each year, we are lucky enough to see entries that show us the great work community groups across the country are doing. We hope that featuring in this film with Reggie can act as another way we add value to the group, beyond just money, by shining a light on them and showcasing the work to a wider audience.
“While we know the individual needs and services of groups vary, Aviva believe wholeheartedly, when communities are supported, informed and connected, they are empowered to face challenges and influence the things that matter most to them. This year, Aviva is going beyond just providing funding; we are offering our skills, knowledge and connections to help build stronger communities together, and are proud to support the groups who work so hard to make a difference in their local area.”
Embrace is one of 550 UK projects to have received funding from this year’s Aviva Community Fund.
Now in its fourth year, the Aviva Community Fund saw 3,300 projects submitted with a hope of funding between £1,000 and £25,000. Project submitters called upon local supporters to champion projects, and an incredible four million votes were placed this year.
In addition to funding projects, Aviva has evolved their programme to provide ongoing support for all projects, not just those that secure funding. See avivacommunityfund.co.uk for more details.
To see which projects have received funding in your area go to https://at.aviva.uk/Winners