Big Lottery Fund
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Lottery backing gets disabled young people into the sport zone

OnSide North West has today been awarded £1,173,451 from the Big Lottery Fund to enable a completely new way for young disabled people to access regular inclusive sport alongside their non-disabled peers.

The organisation will work with more than 1,200 disabled young people and train over 180 specialist volunteers at their state-of-the-art Youth Zones across the North West. The Youth Zones – facilities boasting an unprecedented standard of sports and arts equipment and expertly trained staff – are located in Blackburn, Bolton, Carlisle, Oldham, Manchester and Wigan. They offer a range of exciting activities, including mainstream sports such as football and basketball as well as lesser available sports such as badminton, BMXing, climbing, dance, lacrosse and wrestling, and creative activities. 

Kathryn Morley, Chief Executive, OnSide North West, said: “The funding from the Big Lottery Fund will have a transformational effect on the lives of the young disabled people we are now able to work with. This investment will help us break new ground in terms of the sporting offer to young disabled people in the North West, and we can’t wait to welcome many more young people into our Youth Zones”.

This project aims to help young disabled people to achieve more, both in sporting terms and personally, through greater independence and, it is hoped, an increase in the number of disabled people holding high profile mainstream positions. The programme will establish a bank of young volunteers who will work with their peers who have more complex needs, enabling them to develop personal skills.

In addition, families and carers will benefit from respite and support, as well as the opportunity to mix with other families in a positive setting. Given many families currently travel long distances to access existing sports and leisure provision, this project will be a huge practical benefit to young people, parents and carers across the North West region.

OnSide North West will also work with the SeaShell Trust to deliver sporting activities to young disabled people throughout school holidays and offer residential breaks.

Nat Sloane, Big Lottery Fund England Chair, said: “This project is set to make an enormous impact in terms of raising motivation, confidence and sporting and personal ambitions among young disabled people, who will be encouraged to be the best they can be. By creating an even playing field for activities across a range of abilities, OnSide North West will show how sport is for everyone to enjoy.

“With the huge success of the 2012 Paralympics still a recent memory, it is vital that projects such as this are supported to encourage talent, motivation and participation in sport.”

OnSide Youth Zones exist to give young people every possible opportunity to reach their potential. They are open every evening, all weekend and throughout school holidays, meaning young people always have somewhere to go, something to do and someone to talk to - all this for just 50p a visit.

Helping to build futures for young people through building and sustaining its network of Youth Zones, Onside was founded by Bill Holroyd, former Chair of Bolton Lads and Girls Club. Inspired by this youth club, which is custom-built with state-of-the-art equipment, Bill established the OnSide charity to spearhead the development of the Youth Zone model across the North West. Once set-up each Youth Zone has been established as a separate charity, each with its own local identity. It recently opened a Youth Zone in Wigan in June 2013 and aims to have opened 20 zones by 2020.

Big Lottery Fund Press Office: 020 7211 1888
Out of hours media contact: 07867 500 572
Textphone: 0845 6021 659
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Notes to editors

  • The Big Lottery Fund, 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.
  • The Fund 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 £30 billion has now been raised and more than 400,000 grants awarded across arts, sport, heritage, charities, health, education and the environment.

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