Big Lottery Fund
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£4.5 million to help Welsh communities most in need

Projects to help offenders find a home after their release from prison, improve the quality of life for disabled people and reduce social isolation are sharing in nearly £4.5 million from the Big Lottery Fund.

Some 15 projects across Wales are sharing £4,498,226 awarded through the Big Lottery Fund’s People and Places programme (full list at the end of the release).

The Wallich in Bridgend receives £248,166 to work with offenders before and after release from prison to provide advice and support to find a home. Services will include helping to manage their finances and will offer opportunities to improve basic skills, access employment, training or volunteering.

Project manager Andrew Ireland said: “Through sustainable accommodation and support to address any longstanding unmet needs, the project will provide opportunities for people to achieve their goals and aspirations. We will work to tackle the root causes of offending, thereby breaking the cycle of repeat homelessness, which in turn will enable people to live positive and productive lifestyles.

“The project will also enable people to access other services relevant to their needs, by advocating on their behalf.  The project will offer a pro-active approach to ensure meaningful use of time and promote future ambition.  We will empower prison leavers by providing resources, activities and support to make these positive changes in their lives.”

Disability Can Do Organisation in Caerphilly gets £609,250 to provide support on Welfare Reform changes for 3,960 disabled people and their carers living in the county and neighbouring Blaenau Gwent. This will include raising awareness of entitlements and support through the assessment and reassessment process as well as proving volunteering opportunities.

Spokeswoman for the project Kate Howell said: “This support service has been desperately needed by the disabled community of these two county boroughs for a very long time.

“We are a small, user led organisation and it was our service users who drove us to develop this project proposal - from the initial idea right through to providing supporting evidence.

“Our team have very passionate staff and volunteers who go well over and above what is expected of them to support our client group. We are absolutely over the moon, and take great pride knowing that we will be able to provide a much needed support service for disabled adults in the area.”

In Ceredigion, Ystwyth Community Transport Group will use £199,801 to reduce social isolation and improve the skills of 1,200 young people living in rural parts of the county who have no access to transport for social activities. Money will pay for two minibus vehicles which will be available for hire to all community youth groups. Activities will include youth clubs, forestry training and theatre trips.

Company secretary Mavis Birch said: “The Reach Out project will work with youth leaders, community youth groups, the young people themselves and parents, to enable young people to widen their horizons and improve their social skills and experiences  by  reducing social isolation and exclusion caused by the lack of transport in rural areas.”

Highlighting the importance of the People and Places programme, Gareth Newton, Wales Committee Member for the Big Lottery Fund, said: “Programmes like People and Places are making a difference to the lives of so many people in communities across Wales.
 
“It delivers on our promise to use National Lottery funding to regenerate and revitalise communities, tackle disadvantage head on and leave a lasting legacy.”

The People and Places programme awards grants of between £5,001 and £1 million for a broad range of community projects. For further information about the programme and how you can apply for funding, please visit www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/wales

Full list of awards:

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