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BIG LOTTERY£15.2M BACKS VOLUNTEERS ACROSS ENGLAND

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Big Lottery Fund backing is helping 141 voluntary and community...
Big Lottery Fund backing is helping 141 voluntary and community

groups reach out to those most in need by supporting their services

that are creating vibrant, healthy and safe communities across

England.

Volunteering plays a vital part in community life without them many

small voluntary organisations would not be able to continue their

work. It is fitting then, that in the 'Year of the Volunteer', Big

Lottery Fund is supporting projects that encourage volunteering in

the community.

Families with children under five in rural areas of Shepway will be

supported by a£248,943 grant to Home-Start Shepway recruit

volunteers to visit them in their homes. Families will receive closer

support to help them overcome acute difficulties arising from

problems such as parental illness or hospitalisation.

Lynda Burchett, scheme manager of Home-Start Shepway said: 'Many new

families living in isolated and sometimes deprived communities will

benefit immensely because of this grant, making a real difference to

the lives of children and their families. Home-Start Shepway supports

around 200 families a year in their own homes or group settings, and

this grant will enable us to expand and improve family support

services in the rural areas of Shepway.'

Community Service Volunteers (CSV) will use their grant of£43,840 to

empower older people to take an active role in helping to design and

deliver voluntary services to support the development of children in

Hackney and Tower Hamlets. Volunteers will support pupils, especially

those who are having problems with certain skills and to which

English is an additional language.

Denise Murphy, director of retired and senior volunteers programme

CSV said: 'This grant will enable us to develop our intergenerational

work by going into the community to recruit new volunteers. Many of

the pupils we place volunteers with need to improve certain skills,

particularly in numeracy and literacy, and this grant will help us to

offer support by providing volunteers who can also act as positive

role models.'

Clive Booth, chair of the Big Lottery Fund said: 'Volunteers are

often the life-blood of many small organisations and it's crucial

that the Big Lottery Fund supports the vital work they're doing.

Volunteering gives people of all ages and abilities the chance to

learn new skills and the opportunity to work with people that they

might not ordinarily come into contact with.

'Lottery players can take pride in the fact that they are helping the

Fund to roll out£2m in lottery good cause money every 24

hours, often meeting some of the sharpest needs in communities. This

latest announcement illustrates the reach and diversity of this

support with funding going to every corner of England supporting the

wellbeing of people and the communities in which they live.'

People with learning disabilities are also set to benefit from the

£15.2m awarded in the latest round of grants from the regional

programme targeting specific community needs and addressing local

issues.

The Supporting People Achieving Real Choice (SPARC) project, based in

Warrington Collegiate is receiving£290,814 to support people with

learning disabilities. This project will provide young people in the

area with access to specialist employment services to maximise their

development and help prepare them for work. SPARC believes the best

form of social inclusion is open employment and SPARC services

provide job coaches and travel trainers to helps its members achieve

this.

Mick O'Gorman from SPARC explained: 'Life for disabled people and

their carers has improved immensely due to this programme. We are now

able to provide a wide range of services to help empower disabled

people, giving them greater confidence to pursue their rights and

entitlements, and particularly access to work. Our partnership with

Warrington Collegiate and financial support from the Big Lottery Fund

has been central to our success. We aim to combat isolation and help

disabled people to become more independent by helping them into the

world of work.'

The Big Lottery Fund is improving how it makes grants for voluntary

and community groups in England. The fund expects to launch its new

funding programmes throughout 2005 and will announce a timetable in

the spring. In order to do this, the fund's current large, medium,

international, strategic and research programmes are winding down.

The final deadline for receipt of applications is 31 May 2005.

Different dates apply in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. To

help the Fund to help you, it is encouraging applicants not to wait

until the last minute to apply.

Full details of the Big Lottery Fund programmes and grant awards are

available at: www.biglotteryfund.org.uk

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