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Meet the finalists…

The Aviva Community Fund offers the chance for local community projects to win funding because together we can do more for the causes you care about.

We’ve counted all the votes and we’re delighted to tell you we now know which projects have made it to the finals of the Aviva Community Fund.

Good luck to all the finalists! Our judges are looking at all the entries now, and winners will be announced on 10 January 2017.

If you’ve missed the boat, we’re really sorry to disappoint you. But look out for the Aviva Community Fund next year. We’ll be back offering more funding. Register with us now to keep up with news on the Aviva Community Fund.

How the competition works

Whether you’re looking to solve a problem, speed up an ongoing project or help in some other way, this is your chance to make a real difference to your local community. And it all starts with your great idea.

Put your thinking cap on

What projects does your organisation need financial support for that will make a positive impact in your community?

Submit your project

Fill in our short entry form. There are six categories you can enter into, and four levels of funding to choose from.

Rally the voters

Promote your project to as many friends, family members and neighbours as possible to get their votes.

Fingers crossed…

The projects with the most votes will become finalists and judged before the winners are announced.

Introducing the ACF team

Renowned for telling stories and sharing stories, the ACF team is a panel of experts that we have brought together to provide you with all the information you need to create a great project submission.

Martin Parr – celebrated photographer, Heidi Greensmith – master film story teller, director and writer and Nina Ahmad – journalist and wordsmith have shared their top tips on how to create a compelling entry. Now that voting is open, it’s the turn of Alison Perry – award winning blogger, Facebook gurus Nick Pestell and Maria Purcell, and PR expert Mark Perkins to offer their advice on how to make the most of social media and PR to help you get votes for your project.

  • Martin Parr
  • Heidi Greensmith
  • Alison Perry
  • Nick Pestell
  • Maria Purcell
  • Mark Perkins

Watch the videos from Alison, Nick and Maria on how to drum up support for your project

Facebook experts Maria Purcell and Nick Pestell

Video transcript

Raise awareness of your entry through Facebook

Hello I’m Nick Pestell and this is Maria Purcell and we’re from Facebook.

As part of our role on the Aviva Community Fund Team we’re here to show you how to set up a Facebook page and share our top tips on how to drive support for your cause.

Here’s our advice on how to easily and successfully set up and run a Facebook page.

  1. Setting up your page is really simple. Make sure you use a name that will make it easier for your supporters to remember you and, for consistency, make sure you use the same name that you use on other social media channels.
  2. Make sure your profile picture clearly represents your project. It’s good to use a logo or an image of the chosen work that your charity or group does. That way people will both recognise and identify with your cause.
  3. Next you need to write your ‘About’ section. Make sure you share all the information about what your project does. Share your contact information and include a link through to your Aviva Community Fund page where people can click through and vote for you.
  4. Now you’ve set up your page, you can start posting. These should be short messages that let your supporters know about upcoming events or your chosen cause. Make sure your posts are interesting and informative and try to use photo and video so that your supporters can see the work that your project does. This will encourage people to vote for your project.
  5. Finally, make sure you tell everyone you know about your new Facebook page and ask them to like it, so more importantly, they can keep updated with all of your news. Ask those who have already liked your page to share your post with their friends and family. This is a great way to drum up support for your entry.

So good luck, we’ll be keeping our eyes open for some fantastic Facebook pages.

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Watch as Aviva Community Fund Team members, Maria and Nick, give their top tips on how to raise awareness of your entry through Facebook.

Alison Perry: Champion your entry through social media

Video transcript

Hi I’m Alison Perry and I’m a blogger, social media expert and magazine editor. I’m here as part of the ACF Team to give you top tips on social media and show how you can use social media to enhance your application and get votes for your charity or community project:

  1. Firstly, be consistent. So, use the same user names across all social media channels, by that I mean Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. And try to manage the accounts yourself. With that you’ll have the same tone of voice and your personality will really start to come through.
  2. Make sure you remain professional at all times; be yourself, have some fun but it’s really important to remain professional.
    The thing about social media is that it is very public and you’re going to have people who will come along and disagree with what you’re saying. That’s inevitable. But don’t let it worry you and just remain friendly and professional at all times. Unfriendly behaviour on social media can actually be more damaging than not being on social media at all.
  3. Make the messages you post on social media really clear – if you want people to vote for you, don’t be too embarrassed to ask. Share the URL for the ACF voting page in your tweets and Facebook posts, asking people to click through and vote for you – if people don’t understand your tweet they’ll just ignore it.
  4. Use visuals like photos and videos to enhance your social media posts. They’re proven to engage more people and engaged people are more likely to click through and vote for you, but make sure they’re relevant to your post and to your project.
  5. Don’t overthink it, social media is just an extension of the real world, so chat naturally and have a genuine conversation with your followers. It will help them to understand your cause better and they’re more likely to click through and vote for you.

That’s it from me, good luck with your entry and I look forward to seeing lots of tweets and social media posts over the coming weeks encouraging people to vote for you.

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Watch as Aviva Community Fund Team member, Alison Perry, gives her top tips on how to champion your entry through social media.

Need more inspiration to get involved?

Cramlington Rockets

Video transcript

Celebrated photographer Martin Parr visited local group Cramlington Rockets to showcase the inspiring work of community group organisations.

Steve Beaty – Community Manager: It started off as a bit of a youth group really that just played rugby, but the idea was to engage children, to get them off the streets and onto something constructive.

You roll the clock forward 15 years later, we’re now the biggest rugby league club in the North East, we’ve got over 200 children, we’ve got over 40 volunteers at the club and we’ve got a community department which is one of five in the country.

It’s family values at the heart of it. It doesn’t matter if you’re the best player or the worst player. Everybody’s valued, everybody’s respected. The great thing about The Rockets is we literally prepare everybody we come across for stuff that’s outside of rugby.

We’re a rugby club, but that’s only a very small part of what we do.

Harry – Cramlington Rockets: We’re just a big family, because no one puts anybody down, and I’m just proud of my team.

Steve Beaty – Community Manager: I think people don’t underestimate the positive impact sport can have on children. If it wasn’t for sport, now, I don’t know what I’d be doing.

With this Aviva funding, it has literally enabled us to go and engage everybody we can.

When we see 432 kids today rock up, we know that Aviva have played a big part in that.

To view Martin’s images and to support a project in your local community, visit aviva.co.uk/community-fund

Not Forgotten Association

Video transcript

Celebrated photographer Martin Parr visited local group Not Forgotten Association to showcase the inspiring work of community organisations. This is their story.

Rosie Thompson – Head of Events: The Not Forgotten Association was formed in 1920, and it’s been going 96 years. We’re one of the oldest military charities in the UK. We entertain 12,000 veterans a year.

Phil Jenkins – Communications Manager: For the veterans that come to NFA events, it gives them a day out or an afternoon out. It gives them the chance to meet fellow veterans, to renew old acquaintances, meet others from different associations and different services. Basically, it gives them a good time.

Rosie Thompson – Head of Events: Aviva’s funding was very specific to Colchester. There’s lots of veterans in the Colchester area, so this afternoon is very much about looking after and giving the Second World War veterans and those older veterans something to look forward to. You know so many of these old boys and girls actually don’t get out, so to come out, to be with people, have a lovely afternoon and a lovely do, it’s a real treat for them.

The difference in their faces when they first come to something, and when they leave – that’s what it’s all about.

To view Martin’s images and to support a project in your local community, visit aviva.co.uk/community-fund

Organised Kaos

Video transcript

Celebrated photographer Martin Parr visited local group Organised Kaos to showcase the inspiring work of community group organisations.

This is their story.

Nicola Hemsley – Founder & Managing Director: In rural Wales, it’s very difficult for young people to actually achieve and to move forward with their lives because of the lack of opportunities.

We started as a Friday night circus school, and I started the organisation in response to the need of the young people in the community because young people were getting into trouble with the police. They had a fascination with fire, so I kind of figured that if young people wanted to play with fire, I would teach them to play with fire, and that was the start of Organised Kaos.

Kaos is an acronym. It stands for keeping adolescence off the street. Before we were awarded the grant, in the aerial classes we’d have two pieces of equipment, and since we’ve had the Aviva award we have ten pieces of equipment up.

Participant: I’ve seen this place go from a crumbling church and chapel into this amazing circus space where you can do whatever you want. You can perform, you can act silly. It’s a place for fun and it’s a place for entertainment. You don’t need judgement here. You are just you, you can be yourself.

To view Martin’s images and to support a project in your local community, visit aviva.co.uk/community-fund

Martin Parr Montage

Video transcript

Martin Parr: Hello, I’m Martin Parr I’m a photographer, and for the last few weeks I’ve been travelling around the UK photographing different community groups. The response has been very positive, it’s a great opportunity for them to share what they’re achieving with their local community to a wider audience. My job when I go to these events is to try and capture what’s going on and you just try to really get a sense of the atmosphere and the excitement that you feel with these different groups.

Steve Beaty – Community Manager – Cramlington Rockets: It started off as a bit of a youth group really that just played rugby. But the idea was to engage children, to get them off the streets and on to something constructive.

Harry – Cramlington Rockets: I’ve made so many more friends just from rugby, it’s made a big impact on my life.

Martin Parr: All of these hundreds of kids suddenly poured on to the school and it was absolute anarchy, and what I also liked was the fact that it was quite muddy, we had to buy a pair of wellies to actually go on to the ground, and mud actually helps good photographs.

Nicola Hemsley – Founder & Managing Director – Organised Kaos: I started the organisation in response to the need of the young people in the community because young people were getting into trouble with the police. They had a fascination with fire, so I figured that if young people wanted to play with fire – I would teach them to play with fire.

Martin Parr: What you can really see in this area in South Wales, is there’s not so much going on, especially for the young kids – the affection and regard they have for the Organised Kaos workshops is quite fantastic. You can just sense it as you went in there that they just loved being there, they put themselves into it 100 per cent, and they really let off steam.

Justin Owen – Trainer, Organised Kaos: If I could go back and see myself when I first started juggling and have a conversation, I’d just turn around and say ‘get ready mate, this is going to change your life.’

Martin Parr: We’ve seen an amazing variety, from Wales to Northumbria to London, and now today in Colchester.

Rosie Thompson – Head of Events, Not Forgotten Association: The Not Forgotten Association was formed in 1920, and it’s been going 96 years. We entertain 12,000 veterans a year.

Martin Parr: Towards the end of the concert the invited everybody to start singing and get their flags out – they were waving away. And that if you like was really the crescendo and sort of the climax of this event. It really does sort of capture the sort of the fantastic atmosphere that you could find that afternoon

Rosie Thompson – Head of Events: The difference in their faces when they first come to something and when they leave, that’s what it’s all about.

Martin Parr: Well when you go to these groups, of course, none of them would know who you are because you are a well known photographer, so they say, so most of these people they’re there for the community association. I just like the atmosphere.

To view Martin’s images and to support a project in your local community, visit aviva.co.uk/community-fund

Nicola Adams- From Grassroots to Gold - A Champions Story Aviva Community Fund

Video transcript

This is my sanctuary. My refuge. My second home.

The place where I get to emulate my heroes.

Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard.

The trash talk, their moves. I was mesmerized.

You’d find me in my bedroom, shadow boxing, copying Ali’s shuffle. I was hooked.

My mum took me to the after-school boxing class.

The club became my extended family. It was a basic place but meant so much.

I was part of something, with a special group of people who I grew to love.

It was my second home.

My boxing club closed so I moved to Haringey.

It was hard leaving my family and friends but a champion has to do what it takes.

Haringey looked after me. They still look after me now!

I discovered I had damaged a vertebrae in my back.

I thought this was the end of boxing.

I was watching TV and they announced that female boxing was to be included as an event in 2012.

Quitting was no longer an option. I had to fulfil my dreams.

I knew I had to make it into the Great Britain team.

I would fight like I fought in the ring.

My family, club and team believed I could do it. And I did.

The rest, as they say, is history.

But one thing is certain… without grassroots clubs and coaches I simply wouldn’t be where I am today.

These clubs make kids feel safe, keeping them off the streets, and give them life skills they will remember forever.

Thanks to grassroots clubs, I was able to chase my dreams.

Let’s support the next generation to chase theirs.

The Aviva Community Fund.

For the chance to get funding of up to £25,000 for your club, simply visit the Aviva Community Fund at Aviva.co.uk

Martin Parr digital exhibition

To mark the launch of the 2016 Aviva Community Fund, we have collaborated with one of the world’s most celebrated photographers, Martin Parr, to unveil a new collection of digital images that offer Parr’s own unique perspective on British community life in 2016.

From urban Camden to a rural village in South Wales the images provide a chronicle of the modern day community across the UK. In Parr’s distinct style, they bring to life the inspiring work done by local groups that embody community spirit and were all awarded funding last year.