Big Lottery Fund
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Over £44m Lottery funding supports families most in need

A project that will help families caring for a disabled child has been given the support of the BIG Lottery Fund (BIG) today. It is one of 160 across England to have been awarded over £44million, including a project that will aim to reduce the chances of ex-offenders reoffending.

Contact A Family will spend its grant of £292,789 to provide a specialist financial advice service to families across England with a disabled child. The Lottery funding will meet the increasing demand for families who contact the organisation often in crisis and facing significant hardship. In the last financial year the service received 5,225 enquiries for information on benefit advice, tax credits and other financial assistance. It is estimated that 15% of these calls required a more intensive level of support than was available.

A specialist team of advisors will be available to offer advice to parents thinking of moving into work, on direct payments and personal budgets with easy to read guides on rights and entitlements. The service will also offer a range of workshops, either face to face or on online chat forums, articles promoting awareness of the support available will be circulated in bulletins to 1,300 supported local groups.

Anne Brook, Head of Advice and Information at Contact a Family said: “We are delighted that Contact a Family has been awarded Lottery funding to help the families of the 770,000 disabled children in the UK. This vital funding will ensure Contact a Family is able to develop a team of specialist helpline and online advisors who will give up-to-date, reliable and individualised advice to parents regarding the benefits available to them – more important than ever in the current economic climate.”

Also receiving funding today is Beyond Youth CIC (BY) in partnership with St Giles Trust (STG) and Home Connections (HC) who will work together to place offenders into jobs and help match them to housing upon their release. The Raising the Bars project, working in Norfolk and Kent will use £333,695 to work with ex-offenders who have 12 months or less to go before their release from HMP Wayland and HMP East Sutton Park.

The project will offer beneficiaries access to one to one support from project workers both in prison and on their release for a minimum of six months, where they can work with a community worker to complete employment workshops to help change behaviours and integrate into the community, attend job interviews and settle into accommodation. A five year life plan will be compiled to outline their individual support needs and what they will do to achieve their goals. Each prisoner will be awarded a certificate to start off their portfolio on their release from prison.

Curtis Watson aged 25 served five years for handling firearms. The Beyond Youth course gave him the options to change his life. Curtis grew up around crimes involving guns, drugs and gang related violence in the areas of Streatham and Brixton. Curtis took part in courses such as future jobs, training in mentoring, funding and conflict management. After his training and employment placement he now works full time with Beyond Youth passionately helping young people to change their lives for the better.

The full time worker at Beyond Youth said: “As years had gone by living that life, I have seen friends die, get life sentences and I see a new generation of youngsters doing exactly what we did. A lot of them look up to me now, not for being a gang member and drug dealer but the voice I needed when I was that age.

“What I have gained from Beyond Youth is to step up and break the circle. Beyond Youth has put so many opportunities before me allowing me to make a positive change by equipping me with training, courses and experience. They even found me a more suitable place to live, which meant I could get away from the area where I got myself in trouble. When I was told I would be supported when I was released, I wasn’t too sure, but they met me the day I was released and have supported me ever since.”

Emma Morris, Managing Director for Beyond Youth, said: “Offending and reoffending costs this country around £11 billion every year and there is a clear need for an innovative approach to tackling the issues faced by people leaving prison.
“Raising the Bars will offer a unique package of support by addressing the lack of joined-up services that are currently available, including emotional support and guidance, as well as access to employment and housing. We are confident that our approach will in time prove that this is a robust solution that delivers real and lasting results for people who are returning to the community from prison.”

Nat Sloane, Big Lottery Fund Chair, said: “At a time of significant economic and social hardship for people and communities most in need the BIG Lottery Fund is investing £44million to support and empower vulnerable communities to lead more fulfilling lives. The 160 projects across England that have successfully accessed BIG’s funding are doing everything from supporting families with disabled children who are in crisis with their finances, though to reducing crime and repeat offending. Each of these demonstrate that people can turn their lives around with the right support and the right approach.’’

Today’s funding comes from BIG’s Reaching Communities programme, which awards grants ranging from £10,000 to £500,000 to communities most in need.   

A full list of the 160 Reaching Communities grants announced today.

Big Lottery Fund Press Office: 020 7211 1888
Out of hours media contact: 07867 500 572
Full details of the Big Lottery Fund programmes and grant awards are available on the website:
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Notes to Editors

• The Big Lottery Fund (BIG), the largest distributor of National Lottery good cause funding, is responsible for giving out 40% of the money raised for good causes by the National Lottery.
• BIG is committed to bringing real improvements to communities and the lives of people most in need and has been rolling out grants to health, education, environment and charitable causes across the UK. Since its inception in 2004 BIG has awarded close to £6bn.
• The Fund was formally established by Parliament on 1 December 2006.
• Since the National Lottery began in 1994, 28p from every pound spent by the public has gone to good causes. As a result, over £29 billion has now been raised and more than 383,000 grants awarded across arts, sport, heritage, charities, health, education and the environment.


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