Ledbury Poetry has been awarded £180,000 to fund volunteering opportunities across Herefordshire.

The organisation, which runs Ledbury Poetry Festival and a number of other events throughout the year, will now be able to support arts, cultural and heritage projects throughout the county with the aim of developing new ways to volunteer.

The funding is coming from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sports, which is giving out, via Arts Council England, out a total of £4.6 million from the Volunteering Futures Fund.

An additional £2.2 million has been distributed by Pears Foundation and NHS Charities Together.

The Government says 7,800 new volunteering opportunities will be created across the UK.

Ledbury Poetry director Chloe Garner said: “Ledbury Poetry has an impressive track record of working with volunteers to deliver every aspect of the July festival.

“This is an opportunity to collaborate with organisations across Herefordshire to develop innovative new possibilities, such as hybrid and digital volunteering.

“It will tackle barriers to volunteering and enable people to contribute to their communities, learn new skills, make friends, network and reap the rewards of altruism.”

Volunteering Futures Fund

Darren Henley, CEO of Arts Council England, said: “There’s an abundance of evidence to show that volunteering can be a key factor in helping people lead happier lives.

“This new investment will enrich villages, towns and cities across England, increasing health and well-being and decreasing loneliness and isolation.”

Volunteering Futures Fund aims to break down barriers to volunteering and enable organisations across the arts, culture, sport, civil society, youth and heritage sectors to continue to work within communities, while volunteers enjoy the personal benefits of making a difference.

Culture secretary Nadine Dorries said: “As we have seen throughout the pandemic, volunteering offers a wealth of benefits to both the volunteers and the organisations who rely on their help, encouraging acts of generosity, public spirit and neighbourliness.

“The Volunteering Futures Fund will deliver a step-change in connecting those who may be isolated, lonely or experiencing any number of potential barriers to get involved in volunteering.

“I’m delighted that more than 160 organisations will now benefit from £4.6 million in Government funding to enhance collaboration between local councils, the public sector, and civil society.”