Barnsley Museums secures funding to combat social isolation

Barnsley Museums and Heritage Trust has received funding of £40,000 on behalf of Barnsley Museums from the Know Your Neighbourhood (KYN) fund to combat social isolation and encourage volunteering across the borough, linked to the Eldon Street High Street Heritage Action Zone. 


The Know Your Neighbourhood (KYN) Fund is a £29 million package of funding from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) in partnership with Historic England, designed to widen participation in volunteering and tackle loneliness.


Through the funding, Barnsley Museums has been able to programme a variety of free events across the town centre to encourage people at high risk of social isolation to come together, take part in new activities and volunteering opportunities, and make new friends through the process.


Free activities include cinema screenings of classic films at the Parkway Cinema, history tours, a Natter café at the Eldon Street Café, and art for wellbeing workshops at the Cooper Gallery.  There is something on offer for all age groups and aimed at those who may otherwise struggle to get out and meet new people.


Activities have been hugely popular, with hundreds of people participating, and they will continue to take place during the winter months.


Further activities are taking place on the following dates and times:


Film screening for 55’s and over at the Parkway Cinema – Tuesday’s 12 December & 16 January


Natter café at the Eldon Street Café – Wednesday’s 15 & 29 November


Art for Wellbeing Workshops at the Cooper Gallery – Saturday’s 16, 23 & 30 November


Eldon Street Tours, which explore the historic street and offer a glimpse into the lesser-known history of Eldon Street – Friday’s 24 November, 8 December, and 26 January, start time 11am.


Alongside the free activities, there is also a creative art project that will see several Memory boxes created by different organisations across Barnsley with the support of local artists. Boxes will be taken into Care Homes to support residents and brought to life with living history performances to evoke memories and start conversations.


Councillor Robin Franklin, Cabinet Spokesperson for Regeneration and Culture, said: “We’re delighted to have been awarded this funding as community engagement lies at the very heart of Barnsley Museums and the work that it does. Working with partners at The Parkway Cinema and the Eldon Street Café has allowed them to reach local communities and offer support for those feeling lonely or isolated. The activities are a way of connecting people, building friendships and support systems, and will hopefully raise a smile, offering fun experiences to anyone who would like to take part. The response to the activities has been phenomenal and is already doing so much to help the people of our town.”


Caroline who attended the Parkway Cinema free screening said: “This is a great idea bringing people closer together. I have two hearing aids and I’m profoundly deaf, so I feel isolated at times. I can shut myself away for weeks at a time. But this Cinema event has encouraged me to come out and mix with people. It’s great to break the loneliness.”


Further funding of over £87,000 has been awarded to Barnsley Libraries who will host an exciting programme of events at libraries across the borough.


For more information about the activities taking place visit