22/06/2010

Lottery To 'Reach-Out' To Vulnerable

A major debate is being held in Belfast today to launch a multi-million pound package of Lottery funding to support the most vulnerable people in Northern Ireland.

The Big Lottery Fund is kick-starting its Reaching Out programmes - Empowering Young People and Connecting Older People - which aims to invest up to £40m to support older people and young people most at risk.

Working with the biggest of the Lottery Good Cause distributors, the Lottery is today marking the launch of the new programmes with the 'Big Debate', an event to discuss the main issues facing older and young people most at risk across Northern Ireland.

The event, which will be held in Belfast's Black Box, will be chaired by local actor Dan Gordon and a panel including young people who have been in care.

Empowering Young People is a £20m programme will support some of Northern Ireland's most vulnerable young people including those who have been in care, involved in crime or disengaged from education.
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Grants of up to £500,000 will be available for projects that will help this group of young people transform their lives through activities such as training and employment schemes, one-to-one crisis support, mentoring programmes and street outreach work.

Frank Hewitt, Big Lottery Fund NI Chair, said: "Our consultation told us that we must focus our support on young people and older people most at risk in order that we reach the most vulnerable people in our communities.

"Therefore I am delighted to launch the Reaching Out programmes which will invest up to £40m in communities across Northern Ireland to transform the lives of some of our most disadvantaged people.

"I also hope this major debate will highlight the real issues facing our communities and inspire organisations to develop innovative projects that we hope to support through our Reaching Out programmes."

See: www.biglotteryfund.org.uk

(BMcC/GK)

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