Communities celebrate 15 years of National Lottery funding for Black Country Day 2019
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- Communities celebrate 15 years of National Lottery funding for Black Country Day 2019
Over £170 million of National Lottery funding has been distributed to communities across the Black Country by The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK, since its launch 15 years ago.
More than 3,000 community projects across Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton have received funding, from school playgrounds and parks to allotment sites and community centres. Every local authority in the Black Country has benefitted from the funding, which is raised by players of The National Lottery.
To mark Black Country Day 2019 (Sunday 14 July), it’s time to celebrate two of the community projects using their National Lottery funding to support people in the area.
Zebra Access, based in Wolverhampton, received over £350,000 of National Lottery funding in January 2017 to support the deaf and hard of hearing community across the Black Country. Over the past two years, it has supported more than 350 people by providing activities such as coffee mornings and educational trips to Wolverhampton Crown Court and Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. The organisation has also offered deaf people advocacy support by translating letters and forms into their preferred form of communication. Additionally, families and carers have benefitted from British Sign Language training to improve their communication skills.
Chris Beech, Project Development Manager at Zebra Access, said: “We want to make the Black Country a deaf friendly place and this funding is helping us to achieve that. Thanks to National Lottery players, deaf people in the local community are more in control of their lives and have opportunities to access and experience similar things that hearing people have on a day-to-day basis. We’ve set up a monthly youth club in partnership with The Way, a centre for disabled young people, where they can enjoy various activities such as sports, music and life skills workshops. We’ve also employed a Community Development Officer, who develops links with local groups such as the police, local council and health services to help improve their engagement with the deaf community.”
Top Church Training, based in Dudley, is also benefiting people in the Black Country thanks to National Lottery funding. The group has supported around 170 people since it received over £300,000 in July last year, through various activities such as an arts and crafts session, a drama group, a breakfast club and a wellbeing course, all held at Priory Community Centre. Men and women of all ages come together to enjoy each other’s company, have a chat and learn new skills, reducing loneliness and building friendships.
Jenny Masterman, 34, from Dudley, has been attending Top Church Training’s activities since November last year. She said: “The work Top Church Training do is absolutely brilliant and it’s changed my life. I have so much more self-esteem which has helped me secure a part time job at a local high school as a Lunchtime Supervisor. I couldn’t have imagined doing this before receiving Top Church Training’s support – I’d lost my confidence after experiencing nine years of domestic abuse. I now feel that I have a supportive community around me and I’ve even brought my mom and children to the crafts group, which has helped bring my family closer together.”
Karen Fielder, Head of Operations at Top Church Training, said: “This National Lottery funding has given us the opportunity to make our dreams come true. Our activities have been so popular and we’re seeing people of all ages getting involved. At our allotment site on the Hawbush Community Gardens, people are coming together, forging friendships and sharing their skills with one another. We also offer volunteering opportunities in our community café, which is helping to build people’s confidence and aspirations.”
Nicola Thurbon, Senior Head of Regional Funding for the Midlands at The National Lottery Community Fund, said: “These are just two of many brilliant organisations supporting people in the Black Country to thrive. It’s fantastic to be able to shine a light on these incredibly worthwhile projects on Black Country Day, and to celebrate the achievements of communities made possible by National Lottery players.”
The National Lottery Community Fund distributes money raised by National Lottery players for good causes. Since June 2004, it has made over 200,000 grants and awarded over £9 billion to projects that have benefited millions of people. 90% of the grants it makes are for under £10,000. To find out more visit www.TNLCommunityFund.org.uk