James Acaster features in Aardman short to celebrate community spirit

James Acaster.

“It’s truly a privilege to support a fund that literally anyone can apply for to bring their community together. This film embraces the diversity in our local communities and highlights the importance of coming together as neighbours, so I hope it inspires lots of people to seek funding for their idea.” – James Acaster

[pullquote]This film embraces the diversity in our local communities. – JAMES ACASTER[/pullquote]

Comedian James Acaster has teamed up with animation studio Aardman to help reinforce British community spirit. The Oscar-winning animators created an uplifting new film to mark a £2 million National Lottery fund, which aims to bring communities together across the UK.

They designed a range of diverse characters representing people and communities from the modern UK, with a cameo from stand-up comedian James Acaster. The animation shows what four people would do if they had £1,000 to use in their community.

The script was informed by research from members of the public across the UK, featuring young people hosting a party to bring neighbours of all generations together. It also included older people hiring a café to fill with memorabilia, to help stimulate memories for those living with dementia.

A survey of 2,000 adults also found nearly half think community spirit is ‘strong’ in their local area – but only 27 per cent say the same in the UK as a whole. Being part of a community also makes people feel happier and mentally healthier. As a result, four in 10 would like to be more active in their local area, with young people the most interested – 56 per cent of 18-34 year olds want to become more involved.

It also emerged more than 60 per cent of adults would like improvements to be made in their local area, but a quarter says a lack of funding prevents them from making a difference themselves. Common barriers for those who don’t believe they can make a difference in their community include not knowing where to start (34 per cent) and not having the time (31 per cent).

The research also revealed what Brits consider to be the most important things for a local community, including a safe environment (60 per cent) and people looking out for each other (45 per cent). Four in 10 also look for good local facilities like shops and cafés, while 43 per cent think green spaces, trees and flowers are key. A third believe good transport connections are most vital.

The £2 million funds from The National Lottery – called #CelebrateNationalLottery25 – is open to anyone with a great idea to make a difference in their local community. To apply, visit www.CelebrateNationalLottery25.com

“For 25 years, The National Lottery has been helping communities to thrive in every corner of the UK – from the inner city to remote islands, and everywhere in between. That’s why our fund, #CelebrateNationalLottery25, is to say happy birthday and to inspire anyone and everyone to make their idea for their community a reality.” – Dawn Austwick, chief executive of The National Lottery Community Fund