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More young people are transforming their lives thanks to National Lottery Funding

Four groups across Northern Ireland are providing more support to young people, thanks to over £2 million of National Lottery funding.

One of the groups, VOYPIC, has been awarded £591,036 from Big Lottery Fund’s Empowering Young People Programme for the Speaking Up; Leading Out project. The three-year project is supporting children and young people aged 8-25 years in care, care leavers and foster/kinship families across Northern Ireland.

The project is helping young people by building their skills and confidence, improving their emotional health and wellbeing, helping them get involved in the decisions made about their care, and supporting them to influence decision makers so their views shape the care system of the future. They will also produce a resource for schools about young people in care.

Vivian McConvey, Chief Executive of VOYPIC said: “At VOYPIC care experienced young people come together, talk and share their experience. In trying to understand their own experience, they are committed and energised to improve the care for their peers.

“Our young people are thrilled to be able to create and design a resource for schools and other ways of helping their peers have better relationships with their support networks and communities.

“Big Lottery funding has allowed us to take forward projects and ideas that are important to the young people we work with, and by having a central role in the management of the project they will be able to see their ideas come to life and help make positive changes to the care experience for all young people.”

The other projects being awarded funding by Big Lottery Fund today are:

Streetbeat Youth Project’s five-year ASPIRE to Succeed project which is supporting young people aged 14-16 from north Belfast who are at risk of not being in education, employment or training. The project is using a £585,375 grant to support these young people who are becoming less involved in school due to issues including family problems, bullying, low self-esteem, poor mental health, and alcohol abuse. They will take part in activities which will improve the young people’s motivation, give them a sense of direction, build new skills, improve health and well-being, and improve their educational achievement and employability.

The Advantage Foundation Limited’s five-year Ravine project also received funding. They are supporting young people with mental health challenges, aged 18-25, from the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust area. The £597,709 grant is being used to help young people who are dealing with conditions including depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder and addiction, to help them get on with their education, training and/or employment. The project is setting up an environmental social enterprise in Knockbracken Healthcare Park which will be designed by the young people and they will take part in work placements on various aspects of the running the enterprise.

Also receiving funding today is Youth Concern Whitehead. Their five-year Genesis project is supporting young people aged 11-18 from the Whitehead area who are disengaged from school or the community. The project, which is based in the Genesis Drop-In Centre, is using a £252,750 grant to improve their personal development, support them to stay in school and help them gain the skills to find employment. The project will also provide opportunities for the young people to have a positive role in the community, including organising events for older people, sitting on a charity fund-raising committee and getting involved in community events.

Julie Harrison, Big Lottery Fund NI Chair, said: “I am delighted to announce these grants under the Empowering Young People programme and I want to say thanks to all the National Lottery players who have helped make this possible.

“We want to fund great projects that put young people in the lead in increasing their skills and confidence, and support them to have stronger relationships so they can cope better with the challenges they face and reach their potential. We are looking forward to seeing the positive impact these projects will make for many young people across Northern Ireland.”

More information about the Empowering Young People funding programme can be found on our website, Please ring our enquiries line on 028 90 551 455 if you have any questions.

For press enquiries call Lucy Gollogly or Rachel Skinner in Big Lottery Fund NI.
Press Office: 02890 551 432 or 02890 551 450 
Out of hours media contact: 07580 811135 or 0774 7532 846

Twitter: @BIGNIonline #BigLottery

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.
  • Since June 2004 we have awarded over £6.5 billion to projects that make a difference to people and communities in need, from early years intervention to commemorative travel funding for World War Two veterans.
  • Since the National Lottery began in 1994, £35 billion has been raised and more than 490,000 grants awarded.


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