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Homeless prevention project shares a slice of BIG funding

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People and Places
Release date:
19 12 2011

Most of us are grateful that a warm and comfortable home awaits us during the freezing winter weather. But spare a thought for the thousands of people in Wales who are huddled up, freezing to death on our streets this Christmas.

That’s why The Valleys Inclusion Project (VIP) ran by Welsh Housing Aid Limited is celebrating this Christmas after finding out today that they are among 14 projects throughout Wales to share in a total of £2,832,060. The money is being awarded under the latest round of the Big Lottery Fund’s (BIG) People and Places programme, which aims to bring people together to make communities stronger and to improve rural and urban environments.

The number of households declared homeless so far this year in the UK is up by 13 per cent from the same period last year according to figures released earlier this month by Homeless Link. That’s why Welsh Housing Aid Limited will be spending the £306,935 they were awarded from the Big Lottery Fund on a project which will prevent homelessness by addressing anti-social behavior and social exclusion in the Caerphilly and Rhondda Cynon Taff local authority areas. The VIP project will provide beneficiaries with support on a range of issues including reducing antisocial behaviour, improving living conditions, advice on money management, tenancy agreements, emotional support, access to education and training and advice on alcohol and health issues.

Highlighting the importance of the project, Andrew Jones, the Valleys Inclusion Project co-ordinator, said: “The funding we have received from the Big Lottery Fund is very important to us because it enables us to continue to provide support to households in the two county boroughs covered by the VIP. This feels like a vote of confidence for the work we are doing.

“We work with households who are at risk of homelessness as a result of alleged anti-social behaviour. For these households, this is an opportunity to address with the VIP the underlying causes of their behaviour. The project provides support with the aim of bringing about lasting change for the benefit not only of those households but also the local communities where they live.”

And disadvantaged young people in Gwynedd, North Wales, will literally have an opportunity to race to a brighter future thanks to the £250,000 awarded to the Bangor based Partneriaeth Maesgeirchen Partnership to run the Fast Track to Developing Skills and Providing Opportunities project. The funding will enable seven Communities First groups and Gwynedd County Council to work in partnership with the Redline Indoor Karting Centre to provide 14- 25 year old disadvantaged young people with a ‘Basic Mechanics Course’, helping to motivate them, develop a range of life and communication skills and offer full hands on support to help them into employment, education or training.      

Paul Hockaday, Communities First Coordinator for Marchog, said: “We – volunteers and staff – are delighted at the success of the application. This enables us to extend, across the whole county, a project which has been highly beneficial to young people at a local level. It also gives us the resources and continuity to work in much greater depth and for longer periods to help young people realise their potential.”

“In the New Year, we will be working with our first cohort of young people using a personalised mentoring approach. This will use the focus of karting to provide them with opportunities to consider the options open to them and assist them to achieve their goals – goals which they may not have considered previously.”

He added: “In the current climate of economic downturn, it is vital that young people receive targeted guidance and support. The obvious benefits are economic, but we should not forget the social and health costs of long-term disengagement. This award allows us to address the issue to the benefit not only of the young people themselves, but of the communities of which they are part.”

In South West Wales, the Garnant Family Centre in Carmarthenshire are celebrating after securing £113,740 to establish a range of new services at the centre in Garnant. The new services will include a Dad's Group, training sessions and workshops for parents, a sensory and soft play area for children with disabilities, and a training room which will be used for a homework club. The project will also link in with the organisation's community garden to help families develop new skills.   

Co-ordinator Eira Wilshere said: Families that attend the centre can relax knowing that the doors will continue to be open for them. Due to unemployment on the rise and families facing isolation, centres like ours are a vital support and lifeline.

“With the new plans and ideas and much improved facilities, it will be like a breath of fresh air for the centre and appeal to new families, with the aim of attracting over 70 families over the next three years from Garnant and surrounding areas

Highlighting the importance of the People and Places programme, Big Lottery Fund Wales Committee Member and Chair of the People and Places Committee, Gareth Newton, said: “Programmes like People and Places are making a difference to the lives of so many people in communities across Wales. It delivers on our promise to use National Lottery funding to regenerate and revitalise communities, tackle disadvantage head on and leave a lasting legacy.”

The People and Places programme awards grants of between £5,001 and £1 million for a broad range of community projects. For further information about the People and Places programme and how you can apply for funding, please visit www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/wales

For a full list of projects receiving funding today, click here 
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Further Information

Big Lottery Fund Press Office – Oswyn Hughes: 02920 678 207
Out of hours contact: 07760 171 431
Public Enquiries Line: 0300 123 0735
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

  • In Wales, the Big Lottery Fund is rolling out close to £1 million a week in Lottery good cause money, which together with other Lottery distributors means that across Wales most people are within a few miles of a Lottery-funded project.
  • The Big Lottery Fund, the largest of the National Lottery good cause distributors, has been rolling out grants to health, education, environment and charitable causes across the UK since its inception in June 2004. It was 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 given out across the arts, sport, heritage, charities, health, education and the environment.