Wednesday, 17 April 2024
Wednesday, 17 April 2024

£133m of lottery funding helps community groups across England

ALMOST £133 million of National Lottery funding has gone to charities and community groups in England over the last three months.

This vital funding from The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK, has been awarded to over 2,400 community groups and projects across the country. It will provide a welcome boost to local grassroots projects as they continue to support their communities through cost-of-living pressures and the prolonged impact of the pandemic.

Grants awarded range from £310 to over £1 million and have been made in direct response to community needs, including food banks and parcels, mental health support, improving employment prospects and tackling social isolation and loneliness.

Projects funded include a choir to support people who have been diagnosed with Young Onset Dementia and their families, a scheme to support homeless people with food and accommodation, a group producing education resources on knife crime and youth violence, and a community programme of training and volunteer opportunities to upskill local people in the art of baking.

Emma Corrigan, England Director at The National Lottery Community Fund, said: 

“It’s been a challenging winter for many, and we are so grateful for the support of National Lottery players enabling this helping hand for local communities. We’re delighted to have distributed over £133 million to groups responding to local needs and particularly cost-of-living challenges. We’ve seen real commitment and innovation from our grant recipients across the country and, with spring just around the corner, we hope their fantastic work coupled with our support has provided a boost for communities.”

One of the groups to receive funding is Dorset charity The Support and Mentoring Enabling Entrepreneurship Charity (SAMEE). Based in Bournemouth, it works to improve the lives of people with disabilities and narrow the disability employment gap by empowering them to start sustainable self-employment ventures.

Their £320,000 grant will support the expansion of the charity’s Disabled Entrepreneurs Business Start-up Service (DEBSS), meaning more than 350 disabled adults will have access to this life-enhancing opportunity. The project aims to drastically improve people’s career and life chances, promoting independence, financial resilience and boosted confidence.

Samantha Everard, Chief Executive of The SAMEE Charity, said:

“Thanks to National Lottery players, we can now help change the lives of even more unemployed, disabled adults in Dorset by giving them the chance to learn valuable self-employment skills and escape living in poverty.”

In Sheffield, Football For Foodbanks CIC will use its £10,000 funding to expand further and reach even more people. It was set up in March 2021 with a simple goal in mind – play football, and support foodbanks. It’s now located in four different towns and cities across England, with two more launching in the next 12 months.

The group’s mission is to provide an inclusive space regardless of experience or ability, bringing people from diverse backgrounds together. The project not only brings about improvements in mental and physical health for those involved, but the profits from games help local foodbanks tackle the current cost-of-living situation.

One regular player said:

“Football For Foodbanks has been an integral part of my happiness and fulfilment since moving to a new city and continues to be my primary source of support here.”

Meanwhile, in Middlesbrough, The Ubuntu Multicultural Centre CIC is celebrating after receiving £100,000 to continue running its Drop-in Centre, supporting local black and ethnic minority communities for the next three years. With this new grant, the centre will be open five days a week to continue providing a safe and trusted space where individuals can receive advice and support and celebrate cultural diversity. The Centre will also continue to supply food parcels to up to 100 families per week.

John Kabuye, Founder and Director of Ubuntu Multicultural Centre, said:

“The goal of the Centre is to give beneficiaries the confidence and know-how to navigate public and private services through information, support, guidance, and advocacy. Having the Centre open five days a week, seven hours a day will enable our service users to exercise their rights wherever they go in the future.”

Synergy Essex has received £1.2 million to develop a partnership of three rape and sexual abuse centres covering the whole of Essex, ensuring victims and survivors of sexual violence and abuse from across the county have access to high-quality specialist support.

Lee Eggleston OBE, Operations Manager of SERICC, said:

“Providing a triage service for survivors, family members and agencies has had an enormous impact on our community and how they can access holistic specialist sexual violence and sexual abuse support. This funding will enable the expansion of a new project team to seven staff and the development of new prevention resources and online e-learning products.”

Younger People With Dementia (Berkshire) CIO has been awarded £9,900 to continue its group harmony choir, which supports people who have been diagnosed with Young Onset Dementia and their families. The choir aims to improve well-being and quality of life and help maintain speech and language.

£133m of lottery funding helps community groups across England
Younger People with Dementia.

Caroline Blanchette, Interim Director of Clinical & Operational Services, Younger People with Dementia CIO, said:

“The beauty of the choir is that some people who come along have lost all speech, but they can still sing, and they can still remember the lyrics to songs. It’s so powerful because it shows you that person is still there. It gives carers a chance to share an experience with their loved ones, which is a wonderful gift.”

One carer, whose partner has sadly now passed on, said:

“The choir has been so important to both of us over the past 8-9 years and I know it has played a huge part in keeping my partner stimulated, happy and well throughout her Dementia journey.”

National Lottery players raise over £30 million each week across the UK for good causes. The National Lottery Community Fund as a distributor ensures a share of this funding goes straight to communities, helping them to tackle important issues such as supporting young people into employment, mental health and climate action.

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