18/05/2011

Lottery Funds Support For Vulnerable

The Big Lottery Fund has awarded nearly £1m to NI projects supporting vulnerable youngsters - and young people - such as Ciara Maskey, 18 - (pictured) who have experienced difficulties in their own lives have been asked to help decide where the money goes.

Phoenix ADHD Project Limited is one of two organisations awarded grants totalling over £940,000 from the Big Lottery Fund's Reaching out: Empowering Young People programme which supports young people most at risk in Northern Ireland, including those who have been in care, involved in crime or disengaged from education.

The Coleraine charity will use £499,911 to run a range of programmes supporting young people with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in Co Antrim and Co Londonderry, helping them remain in education, achieve their potential and stay away from anti-social behaviour and crime.

North West charity Liberty Consortium has also been awarded £444,264 to run horticulture training and education programmes for vulnerable young people aged 15-19 with learning disabilities so they get the chance to achieve their goals and aspirations when they move into adult life.

The decision to award the funding has been helped by four young people recruited by the Big Lottery Fund from across Northern Ireland.
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The young people, who have experience of the challenges facing young people at risk, are sitting on the programme's decision-making committee.

Working alongside the existing committee members, they are using their knowledge and understanding to help ensure the funding goes to projects that make a real and lasting difference to the lives to the lives of the most at risk young people in society.

Frank Hewitt, Big Lottery Fund NI Chair, said: "I am delighted that we are announcing the first grants awarded through our £20 million Empowering Young People programme to support the most vulnerable and isolated young people in our society."

He welcomed Ciara Maskey - who has lived in Belfast's New Lodge all her life and has experienced the impact violence, crime and underage drinking can have on the lives of local young people and who works as a peer educator and youth support worker for the Artillery Youth Centre - and Jamie-Lee Christie, Derek Hanrahan and Chris Meneilly on to the Empowering Young People Committee.

"We know from experience that involving young people in our decision making is important because they help us make better informed decisions so we can reach those most in need in Northern Ireland," he said.

The Reaching Out: Empowering Young People programme is open now for applications.

To find out more visit www.biglotteryfund.org.uk

(BMcC/KMcA)

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