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Norfolk community groups share £1.1m windfall

08:00 20 October 2012

Sweet Arts has been awarded £50,000 to continue its work providing new skills to vulnerable and disadvantaged women. Melanie Tilford, left, and Toni Lawton with some of the cushions that have been made. Photo: Steve Adams

Sweet Arts has been awarded £50,000 to continue its work providing new skills to vulnerable and disadvantaged women. Melanie Tilford, left, and Toni Lawton with some of the cushions that have been made. Photo: Steve Adams

Dozens of charitable and voluntary groups across Norfolk have shared a £1.1m funding pot to improve the lives of people in their communities.

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They include organisations providing services for minority groups, those with mental health problems, older people and community engagement projects.

The money has come from Norfolk County Council’s Living Well in the Community Fund which encourages projects to help adults live independently for longer and improve their quality of life.

A total of 42 community groups, churches, voluntary and charitable organisations and councils will share grants of £1,098,977.

They include:

• Great Yarmouth and Waveney Mind, which received £44,822 for Community Roots, a therapeutic gardening project in Gorleston;

• First Focus Fakenham, granted £25,000 to provide activities and advice for vulnerable and isolated people in and around Fakenham;

• Asperger East Anglia, which was given £38,105 to run a training programme for specialist personal assistants supporting people with autism;

• Sweet Arts, which will use its £50,000 grant to launch a women’s-only social enterprise in Norwich to make and sell crafts, clothing and furnishings.

Toni Lawton, project manager at Sweet Arts, said the money would go towards the Sweet Factory, which aims to empower women from a range of backgrounds to develop a range of skills they can use to get back into employment.

She said: “The Sweet Factory is about moving women towards employment, building skills, breaking isolation and increasing confidence. The money has secured jobs, and allowed us to buy machinery and hold events, allowing us to reach even more women and improve their wellbeing.”

Shelagh Gurney, cabinet member for adult social services at Norfolk County Council, said the fund supported those who made communities “happy, healthy and supportive places to live”.

“If we can support groups and organisations to provide targeted opportunities that will help communities, we hope more people will be able to live more independent lives,” she said.

Applications for the next funding round – worth £440,000 – are now being accepted. For details or to apply see www.norfolk.gov.uk/livingwell or call 0344 800 8020.

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