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£8 million Lottery money to empower Scotland's communities

The Big Lottery Fund Scotland yesterday (March 2) announced the first grants made under its new five year £250 million funding scheme, designed to support people and communities to overcome challenging circumstances.  Twenty-one groups can now access Big Lottery funds making a life-changing difference across Scotland.

Organisations sharing yesterday’s £8 million funding boost are working with Scots from a range of backgrounds dealing with a variety of issues from  isolated lives, autism disorders to mental ill health. Big Lottery Fund Scotland is committed to working with communities and organisations to support activity which is people centred, strength based and has good local connections.

Download the full list of awards

With a focus on improving the lives of isolated young people, yesterday’s award of £150,000 toVoluntary Action Orkney will see its Young Person Befriending Project help alleviate feelings of isolation and distress among those aged between eight  and 18 years old. The project will train and support volunteers to provide one-to-one befriending and peer support to youngsters who find it difficult to engage with others due to challenges such as mental health issues, autism, being young carers and having parents involved in substance misuse.

Gail Anderson, Chief Executive of Voluntary Action Orkney, said: “This award will enable us to sustain and expand our befriending service. Even in a supportive community like Orkney there are young people who need a little extra help at a difficult time in their lives. This will allow us to recruit and train additional volunteers to meet the needs of an increasing number of these young people by offering them a positive adult role model and engaging them in a range of new activities to help reduce isolation and develop their confidence and resilience.”

REACH Lanarkshire Autism receives an award of £77,100 to increase the capacity and sustainability of its Improving Lives of Families with Autism project. The grant will fund new staff to deliver therapy, family support and life skills sessions to help families who have a young person with an autism spectrum disorder in Lanarkshire.

Kirsteen Allan, Trustee with REACH Lanarkshire Autism, said: “Our charity has come a long way since it was founded in 2012 and this funding allows us to take REACH to the next step. It gives us the opportunity to employ staff who will support and advise our members. We cannot thank the Big Lottery Fund enough for affording us the opportunity to grow as a charity and to continue to make a difference to those affected by autism and their families throughout Lanarkshire.”

New Caledonian Woodlands receives an award of £97,716 to fund its Good Wood projectwhich supports adults experiencing mental ill-health and social isolation towards improved well-being, more active lives and employment. The novel programme, using woodland based activities in a natural environment, builds resilience, confidence and self-esteem amongst participants with the aim of reducing isolation and loneliness.

Andy Ross, Coordinator of New Caledonian Woodlands, said: “We had been struggling from year to year to fund Good Wood and we felt that this was holding the project back. Removing this pressure allows for a more long-term perspective and this will enable the project to be led more fully by the project participants themselves, with much more emphasis on peer to peer mentoring and support. We know that Good Wood already reduces isolation and loneliness and improves mental well-being, but this funding will allow us to make an even bigger difference to people’s lives.”

Maureen McGinn, Big Lottery Fund Scotland Chair, said yesterday: “We want this Lottery funding to work hard in these tough times to open the door and support activity which puts people in the lead at the heart of their communities.

“I’m delighted some of the groups funded today are the first to receive awards through our new funding scheme and will help bring about positive change for people facing challenging circumstances across Scotland.

“Each of the 21 projects can now offer support, tools and confidence to those, who often feel powerless, giving them the opportunity to improve their lives and those around them. We want to continue to work with communities and organisations to support activity which is people centred, strength based and has good local connections.”

Big Lottery Fund Press Office contact: Colin Calder
Telephone: 0141 242 1484
Twitter: @BIGSCOTLAND #biglottery
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Notes to Editors:

  • The Big Lottery Fund supports the aspirations of people who want to make life better for their communities across the UK. We are responsible for giving out 40% of the money raised by the National Lottery and invest over £650 million a year in projects big and small in health, education, environment and charitable purposes.
  • The Big Lottery Fund Scotland is focussed on helping people and communities most in need throughout Scotland through its five-year £250m funding scheme as well as small grants schemes Awards for All and Investing in Ideas.
  • Since March 2007 Big Lottery Fund Scotland has taken devolved decisions on Lottery spending, the Committee, led by Chair, Maureen McGinn plays a strategic role in the future direction of the Fund in Scotland.
  • Since June 2004 we have awarded over £8 billion to projects across the UK that change the lives of millions of people. Every year we fund 13,000 small local projects tackling big social problems like poor mental health and homelessness.
  • Since the National Lottery began in 1994, £34 billion has been raised and more than 450,000 grants awarded.


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