The Brum Recovery Micro Fund, set up with funding from Birmingham City Council and managed by Birmingham Voluntary Service Council (BVSC), has approved 15 applications from citizens with plans to run activities such as community bulb planting, school uniform swap shops, webinars for young people with special needs and knitting clubs.

All activities are in response to the pandemic, and aim to support people coming together across the city, strengthening the social fabric that makes Birmingham such a great place to live.

One of the successful applicants, a group of 900 volunteers that has been sewing scrubs for key workers in need, will be creating a community blanket from off-cuts of fabric to celebrate the fantastic contributions from the group’s volunteers over the last ten months. For The Love of Scrubs Birmingham was set up in response to the pandemic and the lack of scrubs for staff working in hospitals, care homes and hospices across the country. The funding from Brum Recovery Micro Fund will help create a community blanket that will go on tour across the city before being put on display at the Library of Birmingham.

Chanel Morrison-Jolley who set the group up in March last year said: "The volunteers have been outstanding; together we have made and donated over 16,000 items. My group started with just 60 volunteers and now we have people as senior as 96 involved and many have found a new hobby and a sense of hope.

“This funding means we can celebrate what has been accomplished so far, with the volunteers crafting squares for the blanket, continuing to put in love, sweat and pride!”

Tom Boyce cofounded a grassroots collective of local residents called Birmingham Refugee and Asylum Seeker Solidarity (BRASS). They secured funding for socially distanced workshops for people navigating the asylum system.

Tom said: “We hope to bring people seeking asylum and locals together, fostering community while focusing on English language skills and information sharing. Many of the asylum seekers we work with are feeling increasingly lonely and cut off from the local community. They are not able to work or study and have few activities they can take part in given their allowance is only £8 a week, designated for necessities such as clothing.

“Because of the pandemic, many services they would normally be able to attend such as English classes and befriending schemes, have been cancelled. The funding from the council means we can create a warm, friendly and inviting atmosphere centred on sharing food, conversation and experiences.”

Brian Carr, CEO of BVSC, said: “Grassroots community groups led by people like Tom and Chanel have been vital in supporting Birmingham’s communities during this pandemic. To see people come together like this has been remarkable and I continue to be exceptionally proud of the people of our city.”

Karen Cheney, Head of Service at the Neighbourhood Development Support Unit at Birmingham City Council, said: “The last 10 months have been challenging and it has been fantastic to see how community groups like the local Mutual Aid groups have pulled together to provide hope and relief for people around us. People here really go above and beyond and this fund is helping to recognise that work.”

The Brum Recovery Micro Fund aims to support unconstituted grassroots community groups across the city. Groups can apply for between £500 and £2,000 to support activity that responds to the needs of their local communities, amplified by COVID-19. The deadline for the next round of applications is 20 January and anyone interested can find out more here: