COMMUNITIES in Greenock are today celebrating four Big Lottery Fund grants worth £832,000.
The funding is the first major investment to be made in the area from BIG’s Our Place programme which saw local people come together to agree their own priorities for cash. The Our Place programme aims to make increased investment in five areas of Scotland, including Greenock Central and East, which have not seen the expected level of Lottery funding over the last three years.
Jackie Killeen, Big Lottery Fund Scotland Director, said: “I am delighted that four projects which have been prioritised by the people of Greenock have been successful in securing these awards. Together the local community has agreed a vision for this funding which will focus on three areas: providing vulnerable families with financial advice and parenting support, reducing social isolation experienced by older people and supporting the growth and capacity of new and existing community groups. Each of these projects will make a big difference to the lives of local people whilst leaving a positive legacy for years to come.”
Financially vulnerable families and young people will benefit from an award of £214,000 to the Financial Fitness Resource Team. The service will provide a one-stop shop providing money, budgeting and welfare benefits advice for 2,400 people aged 16 to 49 over the next three years. This will be delivered from a central office in Greenock and from local neighbourhood centres.
Chairperson Mary Sanderson said: "Financial Fitness is delighted to have secured funding from the Big Lottery's Fund’s Our Place programme. This funding will allow us to provide crucial welfare and money advice services to thousands of residents of the Greenock Central/East area over the next three years. With the ongoing economic problems and wide-ranging welfare reforms, demand for our services has never been higher and we thank the Big Lottery Fund for their continued and valued support. We are really looking forward to starting this project and ensuring that we continue to provide quality, independent, free advice services to local people.”
The Phoenix Community Health Project receives £212,000 to provide practical and emotional support to local families, including those affected by alcohol and substance misuse. Central to the ‘Safe Harbour’ project will be a new multi-sensory room giving families the opportunity to come together to relax in a calming environment. The project will also provide parenting courses run by Parenting Network Scotland.
Jacqueline Johnston, project leader, said: “This project will support some of Inverclyde’s most vulnerable families, many of whom are experiencing multiple social and emotional issues. Offering this vital lifeline to families in crisis, will help support and maintain the family unit. Families are the cornerstone of our communities and must be nurtured, and supported when most in need.”
A project enabling older people to meet new friends and become and stay active in their community has received £156,000. Inverclyde Community Development Trust will use the award for its ‘Chit Chat’ project which, over the next four years, will provide activities including a lunch club and organised weekend get-togethers for 320 older people. It will also provide a telephone befriending service which will encourage intergenerational relationships between older and younger people.
Paul Bristow from Inverclyde Community Development Trust said: “The trust are delighted that this project has been funded. The Big Lottery Fund’s support will ensure older people in Greenock are less isolated through a programme of befriending and organised activities, designed to bring more people together to form genuine new friendships. The programme is also creating new job opportunities, which right now, can only be a good thing. The whole Our Place programme has been great news for Inverclyde.”
An Our Place award of nearly £250,000 will support the growth of new and existing community groups as CVS Inverclyde picks up the fourth grant for the Greenock Central and East area. Over the next three years the project will help local groups to organise, develop and run projects that will make a difference to their community. Part of the project will also ensure that local people are able to influence those wider services being delivered in their area.
Eleanor Robertson, chairman of CVS Inverclyde, said: “This investment from the Big Lottery Fund is very welcome, and will enable Greenock Central and East to demonstrate the immense power that people and communities have to create a positive change when the right support is available to them.”
A decision will be taken on a further three project proposals identified by Greenock Central and East by autumn 2012.