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From addiction to recovery - National Lottery funding get lives back on track

£4 million funding boost for 29 Scottish groups

More Scots recovering from addiction will get a second chance at life as an award winning bicycle refurbishing project in West Lothian today (WED 10 APRIL) receives National Lottery cash to expand its activities and open its doors to more people.

1st Step, run by staff and volunteers many of whom have been affected by addiction, is one of 29 groups across the country sharing in £4,165,316 from the National Lottery Community Fund. See a full list of awards in your area here

The group receives £137,934 to develop and continue its bike refurbishment programme, 1st Step Bikes, for people in recovery in West Lothian and Falkirk. Based in Linlithgow Community Recycling Centre, it provides new skills and volunteering opportunities to people like 1st Step Bike Mechanic Stephen McKnight, 37, who credits the group for helping him to rebuild his life after nearly two decades of being stuck in addiction and the criminal justice system.

He said: “I first became involved with 1st Step Bikes in 2016 with a simple idea of creating a group for people affected by addiction, like me, to learn some transferable skills. The plan was to break some of the isolation that addiction can cause and make some connections between ourselves and other support networks within the community. Over the last three years I have been one of the lead mechanics within the project, which has given me structure to my life and taught me to be responsible. Most importantly, it has helped me to repair and rebuild relationships with my loved ones. Enabling me to be a son, a brother, a partner and a father which would not have been possible without the continuous support from 1st Step and the new relationships I have been able to make."

Volunteers at 1st Step Bikes fix up old unwanted bikes and give them a new lease of life before they are sold or gifted back to the community. In doing so they complete an accredited training course and thereafter many move onto more positive destinations such as paid work or college.

Maria Throp, Development Manager, 1st Step Development Ventures, said: "We are all extremely excited to have received this award from the National Lottery. It will make a huge difference to what our team can achieve in terms of providing support and training for people and families getting their lives back on track after being affected by addiction.

“We are a community group run by a mixture of people, many of whom have been affected by addiction. Anyone can be affected by addiction at any time in their lives and it can have huge impacts for individuals, families and communities. At 1st Step we’re all about getting people together to provide a positive environment, where they can support each other and work together, and make a real difference to themselves, each other and the wider community. We are also very grateful for the support of our local partners including Police Scotland and West Lothian Council who let us base our workshop at the Linlithgow Recycling Centre. By working together we can really get things done.”

Announcing today’s funding to 29 projects across Scotland, Maureen McGinn, The National Lottery Community Fund Scotland Chair, said: “This £4m investment will allow more groups across Scotland to expand and develop their activities to help improve the health and wellbeing of hundreds of people and their families. Through these projects, people will gain new skills and confidence to help achieve their ambitions and move on to more positive destinations. I want to say thanks to all the National Lottery players who have helped make this possible.”

Last year The National Lottery Community Fund gave out over £48m of National Lottery funding to community projects across Scotland. Over 1130 projects benefitted from this, enabling people and communities to bring their ideas to life. To find out more visit 

Notes to Editors

1st Step Bikes is an affiliate group of national cycling charity Cycling UK. It was the winner of a Cycling UK’s Volunteer of the Year Award in the Best Community Project category in 2017.

About The National Lottery Community Fund

We are the largest community funder in the UK – we’re proud to award money raised by National Lottery players to communities across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Since June 2004, we have made over 200,000 grants and awarded over £9 billion to projects that have benefited millions of people.

We are passionate about funding great ideas that matter to communities and make a difference to people’s lives. At the heart of everything we do is the belief that when people are in the lead, communities thrive. Thanks to the support of National Lottery players, our funding is open to everyone. We’re privileged to be able to work with the smallest of local groups right up to UK-wide charities, enabling people and communities to bring their ambitions to life.

The National Lottery Community Fund Scotland is focused on helping communities across Scotland thrive through its five year £250m funding scheme as well as small grants programme, National Lottery Awards for All Scotland.

Since March 2007 The National Lottery Community Fund in Scotland has taken devolved decision on National Lottery spending. The committee, led by Chair, Maureen McGinn, plays a strategic role in the future direction of the Fund in Scotland.

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