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December 1, 2004

Health and Disability in Forefront of Big Lottery Funding

From: The Scotsman, UK - Dec 1, 2004

BIG LOTTERY FUND News Release (PN –04-11-39) issued by the Government News Network on 1 December 2004

Projects helping with health and disability issues are at the forefront of a £2.9 million funding announcement today (Wednesday) by the Big Lottery Fund. National Lottery good causes awards come from the Fund's Strategic Grants Programme, which has so far funded 1,386 projects with grants worth over £278 million.

Sir Clive Booth, Chair of the Big Lottery Fund said, "These grants show how a very diverse range of Big Lottery Fund awards can help the lives of those who are most disadvantaged. Promoting and maintaining good health is vital to people of all ages and these projects are helping some of the most vulnerable people in society."

One of the groups receiving a Big Lottery Fund grant is Scope, which has been awarded £459,400 to support disabled people, including those with cerebral palsy, to have choice and control over their lives and equal opportunities to access direct services locally and nationally. The money will be used to work with a range of schemes that promote independent advocacy, as well as the development and dissemination of good practice within it, especially for people with high support needs.

Tony Manwaring, Chief Executive at Scope, said: "Scope is delighted to be receiving the Big Lottery Grant. Scope believes a major factor in disabled people achieving equality is having access to independent advocacy. By working in partnership with advocacy schemes and networks, we can ensure that more disabled people, especially those with high support needs, have the opportunity to make informed choices and take control of their lives."

The Royal National Institute of the Blind will receive £300,000 to bring blind and partially sighted people together on the telephone for fun, friendship and support. Sharing experiences and information, they will be able to maintain social relationships and gain confidence – essential for those isolated by age and sight loss – all from the comfort of their own homes.

Lesley-Anne Alexander, Chief Executive of RNIB said: "I am delighted that the Big Lottery Fund has supported this new initiative which will be of enormous benefit to blind and partially sighted people. For many people with sight loss it is very difficult to get out or form new friendships. Participants in the Tele Befriending service tell us that a phone call from a group of friends makes a huge difference and brightens their day. The award from the Big Lottery Fund will enable us to extend this exciting opportunity to even more people."

The Cued Speech Association will receive £244,235 over three years to carry out an awareness campaign explaining how Cued Speech enables deaf children to use and understand English.

Anne Worsfold of the Cued Speech Association, said: "How can deaf children understand and use the English language when only 30% of it can be lipread? Cued Speech is a simple system – widely used in other countries but not well known in the UK – which uses eight handshapes in four positions near the mouth to clarify the lip-patterns of normal speech. It can be used with any language and with it lipreading levels rise to 96%." As one parent of a totally deaf four-year-old said: 'It's just amazing to us that he can understand us so well in English when he was born completely deaf. Our wish is that every parent finding out that their child is deaf has early and easy access to unbiased information about Cued Speech. It has proved so important for William and his development; we can't imagine life without it.'

The Manic Depression Fellowship will receive £58,000 to enable people affected by manic depression to take control of their lives. The project will run groups to train members to prevent and solve financial problems. As part of the project, facilitators will deliver training on five key life stages where participants will look at their financial health and well-being.

Mike Calver, Development Manager, The Manic Depression Fellowship, said: "This project is about enabling members to prevent and resolve money problems early and effectively. It's about members making informed and educated choices concerning their financial affairs. The Manic Depression Fellowship can now assist its members in providing a comprehensive strategy looking at prevention, solutions, control mechanisms and education "

Respond has been awarded from £223,219 to provide helpline advice and support to adults and children who have leaning disabilities, on the subject of abuse and sexual abuse. The project aims to improve awareness and support for all ages while also helping to reduce the perpetuation of the abuse cycle by providing expert advice and improving the knowledge of professionals, parents, carers and teachers as well as working directly with adults and children with learning disabilities.

Richard Curen, Director, Respond said: "This grant will mean a great deal to the many thousands of adults and children with learning disabilities that we support. The Helpline is a lifeline to those who are forced to live with the legacy of the abuse they experienced. A big thank you to the Lottery." s

Public Enquiries Line: 08454 102030 Textphone: 0845 6021 659

Full details of the Big Lottery Fund programmes and grant awards are available on:

Notes to Editors

Big Lottery Fund is the joint operating name of the New Opportunities Fund and the National Lottery Charities Board (which made grants under the name of the Community Fund). The Big Lottery Fund, launched on 1st June 2004, is distributing half of all National Lottery good cause funding across the UK.

The Big Lottery Fund is building on the experience and best practice of the merged bodies to simplify funding in those areas where they overlap and to ensure Lottery funding provides the best possible value for money. To date, the two merged Funds have committed more than £5 billion to initiatives with national, regional and local partners from the public, voluntary, charity and private sectors, with a particular focus on disadvantage.

The Strategic Grants Programme provides large and medium-sized grants to help meet the needs of those at greatest disadvantage in society. The Strategic Grants Programme provides funding for projects that cover a wider geographical area and may require larger grants. Strategic Grants benefit projects that span three or more England regions or England as a whole or more than one UK country or the UK as a whole. s

Issued November 2004