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£14.7 million National Lottery cash boost to support young people’s mental health and tackle loneliness in older people

Young people will receive support with their mental health and loneliness will be tackled in older people across all corners of England through two key programmes – HeadStart and Ageing Better – thanks to an additional £14.7 million from The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK.

HeadStart and Ageing Better were established four and five years ago respectively as long-term strategic programmes to tackle some of society’s most entrenched social problems in innovative ways. The extra funding will build on the work they have done during these unprecedented times and continue to support communities significantly impacted by the pandemic.

HeadStart, a five-year (2016-2021), £58.7 million programme set up by The National Lottery Community Fund, aims to explore and test new ways to improve the mental health and wellbeing of young people aged 10 to 16 and prevent serious mental health issues from developing. HeadStart has since worked with 430 schools and engaged with 131,000 young people across the six locations based in Blackpool, Hull, Wolverhampton, Kent, Newham and Cornwall.

The six local authority led HeadStart partnerships have received a share of £8.7 million and will continue to deliver their existing work but with a revised focus on supporting marginalised young people to access the help they need as they respond to the increased demand.

Ageing Better was originally a six-year (2015-2021), £78 million programme set up by The National Lottery Community Fund to improve the lives of people aged over 50 by addressing loneliness and developing creative ways they can be actively involved in their local communities. Almost 150,000 people have been supported through Ageing Better across 14 locations, from Torbay to Middlesbrough and the Isle of Wight to East Lindsey, with 60% feeling less lonely and a third being more involved with local activities.

Both programmes were due to end in 2021, but HeadStart and Ageing Better partnerships have been awarded a further £14.7 million with the funding intended to alleviate the difficulties experienced by communities as a result of COVID-19.

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