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Wiltshire organisation awarded over £150,000 of National Lottery funding to help adults with disabilities into work

An organisation in Wiltshire has received more than £150,000 of National Lottery funding to transform life chances for adults with disabilities who are struggling to find work.

Based in Swindon, Phoenix Enterprises provides a vital safety net for people with short or long-term mental health problems, learning difficulties or physical disabilities.

The project offers a supportive environment where people can gain work experience surrounded by positivity, fun and encouragement from their peers and the staff.

The grant from The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest community funder in the UK, will help the organisation benefit more than 300 people over three years to better manage their lives.

Phoenix Enterprises provides tailored, one-to-one support to give people the skills and confidence to live independently. These services include employment skills, such as CV writing and interview tips, and life skills such as budgeting, communicating with others and cooking.

The award falls under one of The National Lottery Community Fund’s four key missions, which are to support communities to come together, be environmentally sustainable, help children and young people thrive and enable people to live healthier lives.

When Noah* first arrived Phoenix Enterprises, he struggled with extremely low self-esteem. Within only six months, Noah’s confidence soared as he learnt new skills in a supportive environment and connected with other people experiencing similar feelings.

With this newfound self-belief, Noah secured a paid job within the local community and has recently gained his forklift driving license.

Lynn* joined the project as a shy and withdrawn individual, but soon began to come out of her shell. Since then, Lynn has put her skills to good use in several volunteering positions locally, and the support and encouragement from Phoenix has given her the confidence to put herself forward for a paid role.

In the UK, only 18% of people with severe learning difficulties and only 48% of people with mental health problems are in employment, versus the national 75%**. These physical and mental difficulties can be financially debilitating, leaving people feeling socially isolated.

People attending Phoenix Enterprises have been found to gain confidence, build self-esteem and develop friendships, which improves their mental and physical wellbeing. Many go on to paid employment and independent lives, whereas some simply benefit from the structured environment and feeling welcomed, safe and with a true purpose.

Clare McDougall, Chief Executive at Phoenix Enterprises, said: "I can't tell you how much this funding means to us. Thanks to National Lottery players, this generous grant will take the pressure off and allow us to do amazing work."

The National Lottery Community Fund will distribute at least £4 billion by 2030, supporting activities that create resilient communities that are more inclusive and environmentally sustainable.

This includes nearly 250 charities and community groups across the South West which have been awarded almost £13 million of National Lottery funding over the last four months**.

Juliet Williams, Head of Funding for the South West at The National Lottery Community Fund, said: “We’re delighted that local groups are using our funding to strengthen communities and improve lives in our region. Their passion, creativity and commitment are making a real difference to local people’s lives, and this deserves recognition.

“Thanks to the ongoing support of National Lottery players, our ambition is to invest most in places, people and communities experiencing poverty, disadvantage and discrimination – and we welcome new applications that will help us respond to the diverse needs of different communities.”

The South West isn’t alone in benefiting from National Lottery funding. Yesterday it was announced that over £122 million has been distributed to more than 2,500 community organisations across England in the past three months**.

National Lottery players raise over £30 million a week for good causes across the UK. Thanks to them, last year The National Lottery Community Fund was able to distribute over half a billion pounds (£615.4 million) of life-changing funding to communities. To find out more visit www.TNLCommunityFund.org.uk

Notes to Editors

* Not real names

** Labour market overview, UK - Office for National Statistics (ons.gov.uk); Money and mental health facts and statistics; Disability and employment, UK - Office for National Statistics (ons.gov.uk)

*** These figures are for funding awarded from 1st July – 29th September 2023

About The National Lottery Community Fund

We are the largest non-statutory community funder in the UK – community is at the heart of our purpose, vision and name.

We support activities that create resilient communities that are more inclusive and environmentally sustainable and that will strengthen society and improve lives across the UK.

We’re proud to award money raised by National Lottery players to communities across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and to work closely with government to distribute vital grants and funding from key government programmes and initiatives.

As well as responding to what communities tell us is important to them, our funding is focused on four key missions, supporting communities to:

1. Come together

2. Be environmentally sustainable

3. Help children and young people thrive

4. Enable people to live healthier lives.

Thanks to the support of National Lottery players, we distribute around £500 million a year through 10,000+ grants and plan to invest over £4 billion of funding into communities by 2030. 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.

National Lottery players raise over £30 million each week for good causes throughout the UK. Since The National Lottery began in 1994, £47 billion has been raised and more than 670,000 individual grants have been made across the UK - the equivalent of around 240 National Lottery grants in every UK postcode district.

Channel website: https://www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/

Original article link: https://www.tnlcommunityfund.org.uk/news/press-releases/2023-10-17/wiltshire-organisation-awarded-over-150000-national-lottery-funding

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