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Over £1.4 million to empower people in the West of Scotland into work

The Big Lottery Fund Scotland yesterday (March 2) announced over £1.4 million in funding to three West of Scotland community based projects.

These three awards worth over £1.4 million are part of a wider £8 million package from the from the Lottery Fund and includes the first grants made through its new funding scheme launched late last year, designed to support people and communities to overcome challenging circumstances across Scotland. 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.

Scottish Association for Mental Health receives an award of £500,000 to fund its SAMH Individual Placement and Support Project in Inverclyde, West Dunbartonshire and North Lanarkshire.  The money will fund a three-year employment project for 225 people aged 25 and older experiencing severe mental illnesses. The project will provide resilience workshops and sessions on personal development for future job prospects.

Billy Watson, Chief Executive, Scottish Association for Mental Health, said “79% of people with severe and enduring mental health problems are not in work; this statistic has not shifted for decades. The evidence based Individual Placement and Support programme has far more impressive results than any other employment programme operating in Scotland and this funding offers people in the three target geographic areas the opportunity to change their lives, participate in society and live dignified, fulfilled lives.”

An award of £703,865 to First Steps Future Training will help 80 young people between the ages of 14 and 18 years in Glasgow, South Lanarkshire and Dunbartonshire, overcome challenges, from homelessness and substance misuse to coming out the criminal justice system. The project will support the young people through a range of training programmes, including personal development and practical support to prepare them for work experience and entering college.

George Bruce, Operations Manager, First Steps Future Training, said: “Thanks to this grant funding, that will span over five years, the team can carry out more in-depth training with an emphasis on support over a longer sustained period of transition for some of the most vulnerable young people in society today. The whole team are excited to put into action all the months of planning to develop the young people and their skills to successfully gain employment or progress onto further education.  Nothing gives our team greater satisfaction than to witness our young people develop in confidence and progress into adulthood while successfully gaining a modern apprenticeship or full time employment.”

An award of £258,453 means that Access to Employment Ayr Limited will be able to continue to support people overcoming addictions and criminality in order to progress into work. The project will provide 240 individuals with an employment advisor who will carry out an action plan for every individual to improve confidence, gain new skills and improve future opportunities.  

John Reid, Manager, Access to Employment Ayr, said: “The funding will make a huge difference to individuals who are economically inactive and distanced from the labour market by supporting them to make the transition towards employment.  Access to Employment are looking forward to working with South Ayrshire Criminal Justice Team and Alcohol and Recovery Services to deliver the outcomes of the Transition to Employment – Bridging Services project.”

Maureen McGinn, Big Lottery Fund Scotland Chair, said: “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.

“These three projects in the west of Scotland will support people into work and help them look towards a more positive future giving them the chance 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: Adele Goodfellow

Telephone: 0141 242 1508



Twitter:     @adelegoodfellow #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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