Two organisations based in Kilwinning and Beith, striving to improve and strengthen their communities through people led activities, have been awarded a share in £300,000 Lottery (Monday 14 March).
The Big Lottery Fund’s medium grants for community-led activity, which launched in November last year, aims to address inequalities in Scotland by supporting ordinary people to implement positive change in their areas.
Ayrshire Communities Education and Sport (ACES), celebrates £150,000 funding over three years, to deliver a variety of activities in Woodwynd, Kilwinning, in response to needs established in and by the community.
Some of the activities locals have asked for include: sports, recreation, education and holiday programmes for children, lunch clubs for older people, community garden work, a bike track, a women’s clinic, employability & welfare advice, as well as a large number of classes delivered in the local community centre. It is expected that over the length of the project up to 300 local people will benefit.
Whilst much of the work ACES deliver is general sports and youth activities, they have many specific issue based programmes too, for examples, No Knives Better Lives, Suicide Awareness and Legal High Awareness.
Margaret Ann McNeil, ACES Chair, explains what a difference this lottery funding will make: “This Lottery boost will ensure we are able to keep the much needed posts of development officer and youth worker. In turn this will allow us to offer new programmes and expand current ones. I’m pleased to say after feedback from the community, we will also be establishing a breakfast group and an after school group, where young people will receive a snack before going home each day. Finally we’re very glad to be extending our highly successful No Knives Better Lives programme, as well as other school projects, to reach even more young people and children.”
Dale, ACES community youth worker, said: “I’ve been here for over a year now and I have seen first-hand where the community needs the most support and how difficult that can be to achieve due to budgets. This extra funding can help us offer long-term support to our community and help children and young people on to a more positive track for the future.”
Beith Community Development Trust (BCDT) is celebrating £150,000 funding over five years and was formed from an alliance of locals interested in health and well-being and sports, but with limited and poor availability to facilities in the town.
To ensure support goes to locals who need it, BCDT is controlled by a membership strategy limited to Beith postcode holders. It is estimated that 500 people will be involved over the five years.
Alex MacFie, manager at BCDT, explained how they are always looking at ways to improve the Beith area and get the local community involved: “Beith Trust will use this fantastic Lottery funding to support the ongoing development and delivery of a range of fun, educational and recreational programmes for, and chosen by, the community. Whatever your age or background this funding will enable more quality opportunities for everyone. For example, nurture groups with therapy dogs, outdoor educational groups, cookery workshops and awards and accreditations tailored for young people.”
Beith Trust also offer a fun outdoor activity called Soup Group, where young people build dens and create arts and crafts before enjoying some soup around a campfire together and playing campfire games.
Two young people who has been reaping the benefits of the project are Pauline and Dylan.
Pauline said: “This group has been a great experience for me working with a range of people. I no longer feel scared when trying to express myself.”
Dylan said: I’ve learned good communication is sometimes more important than getting things exactly right. I feel like Soup Group is the only place I can be myself.”
Jackie Danks at Beith Primary School, said: “Outdoor activities at the project give the children the opportunity to bring their learning back into school and home. I’ve noticed a significant improvement in the behaviour of children taking part in the nurture group. For example, learning to play fairly and be part of a team, as well as having fun.”
Maureen McGinn, Big Lottery Fund Scotland Chair, said: “This funding aims to support communities across Scotland to improve the places they live and the well being of those facing challenging circumstances.
“In North Ayrshire these two fantastic projects will ensure everyone has an opportunity to contribute to this positive change. We will continue to work with communities and organisations to support activity which is people centered, strength based and has good local connections.”
More information on what the Big Lottery Fund assists charities and communities to achieve each year;
- The Big Lottery Fund supports the aspirations of people who want to make life better for their communities across the UK. We are responsible for giving out 40% of the money raised by the National Lottery and invest over £650 million a year in projects big and small in health, education, environment and charitable purposes.
- The Big Lottery Fund Scotland is focused on helping people and communities most in need throughout Scotland through its five-year £250m funding scheme as well as small grants schemes Awards for All and Investing in Ideas.
- Since March 2007 Big Lottery Fund Scotland has taken devolved decisions on Lottery spending, the Committee, led by Chair, Maureen McGinn plays a strategic role in the future direction of the Fund in Scotland.
- Since June 2004 we have awarded over £8 billion to projects across the UK that change the lives of millions of people. Every year we fund 13,000 small local projects tackling big social problems like poor mental health and homelessness.
- Since the National Lottery began in 1994, £34 billion has been raised and more than 450,000 grants awarded.