Big Lottery Fund
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Lottery support for disabled victims of crime
A scheme working across three English regions supporting disabled victims of crime is amongst 20 projects sharing in £5.5 million yesterday from the Big Lottery Fund’s Reaching Communities programme.
The Voice UK project is joined by The Leeds Animation Workshop, which has also been awarded funding to produce a DVD to raise awareness on relationships and sexual health amongst people with learning difficulties.
Voice UK has been awarded £180,258 for its Regional Vulnerable Victim Support and Safety Awareness project. Working in the West Midlands, Greater Manchester and Devon and Cornwall, the two-year project will help equip disabled people with skills to cope with bullying and the support to work through the criminal justice system where they are often not treated as credible witnesses.
Regional officers will work closely with social services, police and voluntary organisations to facilitate and promote `Keeping Safe' workshops, providing face-to-face support for victims who have either contacted Voice UK's helpline or have been referred locally. Self-help groups will also be established to sign post vulnerable victims to relevant agencies. In addition, through the media and local networks, awareness will be raised of disability hate crime and its impact.
Kathryn Stone OBE, Chief Executive, VOICE UK, said: “We will never stop crimes against disabled people. What we can do is raise awareness of them, be there to support the victims, their families and carers and provide training to those who need it. This Reaching Communities grant will enable us to provide face-to-face support to disabled victims in these areas, helping victims to receive justice, to rebuild their lives and helping vulnerable people to stay safe.”
A grant of £111,700 has been awarded to the Leeds Animation Workshop to produce an animated DVD to raise awareness about relationships and sexual health amongst people with learning difficulties.
The ten-minute film will target people of all ages with learning disabilities, along with their families. It aims to provide a resource for professionals and teachers across the country to aid communication and discussion and to help people deal with a range of relationship issues.
Terry Wragg, Co-director, Leeds Animation Workshop, said: “People who have learning disabilities, whatever their age, are often prevented from meeting people and making friends. They tend to receive no sex education and never get the chance to form intimate relationships. This is partly because parents and carers wish to protect them, and this is understandable: concerns about exploitation, safety, sexual health and must be taken seriously. But denying people the right to have relationships is not the answer. They need appropriate information and support.
“People with learning disabilities have emotional needs and skills just like anybody else, and they have a right to close friends and partners, too. We are going to use this grant to make a DVD resource that is accessible to people with learning disabilities. We will be working with people at Mencap, CHANGE and other organisations, who want people who have learning disabilities to enjoy friendships and sexual relationships without putting themselves at risk.”
Topics covered by the Everyone Can Have Friends DVD include getting close to someone, resisting harassment and bullying, negotiating conflict, risky behaviour, safe sex, and contraception, as well as providing signposting to further support.
Sanjay Dighe, Chair of the Big Lottery Fund’s England Committee, said: “The Big Lottery Fund is a solid supporter of organisations working with disabled people. These two very different projects are just a snapshot of how the Fund is working to enrich disabled people's lives.”
Big Lottery Fund Press Office: 020 7211 1888
Out of hours contact: 07867 500 572
Public Enquiries Line: 08454 102030
Textphone: 0845 6021 659
Full details of the Big Lottery Fund programmes and grant awards are available on the website: www.biglotteryfund.org.uk
Notes to Editors
- Under Reaching Communities, the Big Lottery Fund awards grants between £10,000 and £500,000 to projects that offer people better life chances, build stronger communities, develop improved rural and urban environments and improve health and well being.
- The Big Lottery Fund (BIG), the largest distributor of National Lottery good cause funding, is responsible for giving out half 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 June 2004. 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 £22 billion has now been raised and more than 300,500 grants awarded across arts, sport, heritage, charities, health, education and the environment.