Lottery's & pound; 13.5m offers life changing help for youth

20 Sep 2011 01:15 PM

Young people including young offenders and those associated with gangs are being given the opportunity to turn their lives around with the help of new Lottery funding announced today.

More than £15.3million from the Big Lottery Fund is going to a range of projects, some of which will help steer young people on the right path and counteract negative behaviour such as that displayed by those involved in last month’s riots in London and other centres.

In total 58 organisations across England are taking a share of the funding which comes from the Big Lottery Fund’s Reaching Communities programme.

Among the grant recipients is the Youth Empowerment Crime Diversion Scheme based in Kent who have received £120,000 to expand their work in to Sussex and parts of Surrey. The project helps young people who have offended and those at risk of offending to access support and information from trained ex-offenders who have experienced similar situations. As well as diverting young people away from crime, the project also provides training and employment opportunities for adult ex-offenders to work as facilitators.

An evaluation of the project shows that the scheme’s approach to behaviour management is working. One young person after completing a group work programme with the scheme said that they liked the programme because the facilitators didn’t look down at them because they had behaved similarly in the past and it helped them to realise the difference between right and wrong.

One of the ex-offenders that the project employs is Graham Godden, now a Project Manager at the scheme. “Youth Empowerment has given me the opportunity of doing something really positive with my past experiences. It's amazing to work with people and then see them grow and make really positive changes for themselves. To have been given this money from the Big Lottery Fund is so reassuring. It has demonstrated their confidence in our organisation and what we do,” he said.

Meanwhile in the London Boroughs of Hackney and Islington, the nia project will use £462,814 to work with young women aged 13 to 18 who are associated with gangs and gang culture. The project will help young women to make long term changes to their lives which will improve their futures and reduce violence and anti-social behaviour in communities. It will also work with and train professionals to develop their ability to identify and respond to the issues faced by these young women more quickly and effectively. This will include working with social workers, youth offending teams and teachers to better identify risks and recognise the links between young women's behaviour and association with male gang members.

Also in London, a grant of £281,622 goes to the Kings Cross-Brunswick Neighbourhood Association to work with young people in the inner city area of Kings Cross. The project provides a youth programme of activities including employment and training advice, conflict resolution workshops, stop and search workshops (in association with the Police) and volunteering opportunities. The end result is that more young people are better equipped at managing difficult situations, their school attendance is increasing and community cohesion has improved.

Nat Sloane, Big Lottery Fund’s England Chair, is confident that today’s investment in these youth projects will have a big impact on many young lives and communities as a whole: “Young people in this country are frequently in the spotlight, but regretfully often for the wrong reasons. We know that if young people are given the right support at the right time they can begin to think about the choices they are making and how their decisions and behaviour can have an impact not only on themselves, but also on their families and wider society. The projects receiving funding today are each working in a variety of ways to help guide hundreds of young people onto a more positive path. Ultimately, what we hope to see is more young people with a desire to succeed in creating a bright future for themselves.”

All projects receiving funding from Reaching Communities today, click here 
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Further Information

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
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www.twitter.com/BigLotteryFund #BIGlf

Notes to Editors

  • The Big Lottery Fund (BIG), the largest distributor of National Lottery good cause funding, is responsible for giving out 46% 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 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 £26 billion has now been raised and more than 330,000 grants awarded across arts, sport, heritage, charities, health, education and the environment.