Forty projects receive funding from Big Lottery Fund


An England-wide scheme to provide a listening ear to adults who suffered trauma in their childhood is amongst 40 projects receiving funding today from the Big Lottery Fund.

Today's announcement sees close to £11 million from BIG's Reaching Communities programme awarded to organisations working with some of the most vulnerable and socially excluded people across the country.

Sanjay Dighe, chair of the Big Lottery Fund's England Committee, said: "We are delighted to see over £10.9 million going right into the heart of communities, providing support to the people who most need it.

"There are projects offering assistance for carers, disabled people, those with particular health conditions and a host of others. The 40 projects funded today are vital in improving health and well-being, increasing opportunities for people of all ages and building stronger communities."

The National Association for People Abused in Childhood (NAPAC) receives £495,210 to increase the capacity of their national freephone support line for adults who suffered abuse as children.

Volunteers are trained to offer a sympathetic ear, allowing callers the opportunity to discuss their experiences with a non-judgmental listener and be signposted to other organisations that can help them deal with past issues face-to-face.

NAPAC receives approximately 1000 calls per week and is able to answer just six per cent of these, most of which are first-time callers.

The grant will enable them to expand its volunteer base to answer more of these calls. They also do presentations to GPs and other agencies as part of a campaign to raise awareness.

Chief executive Pete Saunders said: "I cannot overstate the significance of this grant, and what it will enable NAPAC to achieve. We provide the UK's only national free phone support line for adults who suffered any type of abuse in childhood and the Reaching Communities funding will enable us to reach out to this huge and isolated community.

"It's easy to forget that abused children grow up and it is so important they, as adults, are given the opportunity to heal and move on with their lives. That is what we do at NAPAC: we help support people in their healing journey through the provision of a volunteer-run support line that is free and available every day of the working week.

"It was only lack of funding that hampered our plans to expand and meet the ever-growing demand for our unique service. This funding has untied our hands and will enable that to happen."

Other Reaching Communities grants awarded today include £144,929 to The Lowe Syndrome Trust, to provide support and information to the parents and carers of children diagnosed with this rare genetic condition.

A grant will enable The Lowe Syndrome Trust to continue to raise awareness about the condition within the wider health profession with the aim that children are more effectively diagnosed and treated, improving their life expectancy, quality of life and prospects for education and involvement in community life.

Also receiving an award is Action for Blind People, who will use their grant of
£499,651 to inform people in rural areas of England with visual impairments about Assistive Technology.

Specialist equipment, such as mobile phones with large screens and software that magnifies or reads out documents on a computer, will be lent to visually impaired people, giving them the opportunity to try it out and determine if it meets their needs before buying it themselves.

The project will cover Devon and Cornwall, East Anglia and Cumbria, chosen as they are amongst the most rural parts of the country where the issue of isolation is especially acute due to the lack of public transport.

Action for Blind People's Director of Services Miriam Martin said: "It is great news for Action for Blind People that we have been successful in our bid to the Big Lottery Fund. As is the case for most charities, we rely on a range of sources of funding and donations from organisations and individuals to deliver our services.

"This grant will allow us to provide a service which will enable blind and partially sighted people in rural areas, to be more socially involved, independent and to lead more fulfilling lives by training them in Assistive Technology."

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