Norfolk charities and community groups celebrating £1.7m Big Lottery windfall

The North Lynn Discovery Centre is to receive £348,388 of funding from the lottery. Picture: Ian Bur

The North Lynn Discovery Centre is to receive £348,388 of funding from the lottery. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

Many in society are most vulnerable at the dawn or dusk of their lives, and groups committed to improving the prospects of young and old in our region are celebrating a windfall of more than £1.7m today.

Hundreds of thousands of pounds have been promised to fund projects over the next three years to help the elderly in Norwich and young carers struggling to get by in our market towns. Dozens of projects will benefit from Big Lottery funding, including sustainable food from Norwich Farmshare and bike-building workshops for young people in Great Yarmouth.

Age UK Norwich bridges the generation divide between old and young by bringing the elderly into schools or for walks in the city parks, and more than £350,000 will help them drive the projects forward.

Chief executive Susan Ringwood said there was a real need to keep older people active for longer.

'We are looking to support communities across the city with social activities and keep people active and healthy, particularly overcoming any sense of loneliness people are experiencing,' she said.

'The two main focuses for the work are active aging – keeping people physically active and using that as a way of maintaining their health and wellbeing – and inter-generational work: bringing generations together.

'Older people really enjoy the company of younger people, and that works both ways. Younger people will enjoy sharing what they are doing with older people, and it is about growing the understanding among young people the fantastic experiences older people have. There is a natural affinity between the very old and the very young.'

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More than £400,000 will also secure one-to-one support for young carers in more rural areas of the county from Norfolk Carers Support for the next three years. The charity already helps carers aged between 16 and 24 in King's Lynn, Norwich and Great Yarmouth, but are now able to expand to areas such as Diss, Thetford and Sheringham.

Tim Allard, executive manager of Norfolk Carers, said; 'The difficulty for them is accessing those opportunities that are available for other young people.

'They can be constrained by their responsibilities in caring for someone at home, as well as their ability to live a full and active life as other young people. We want to support them in working out how to balance the two.

'What we have found over the last three years is that we are supporting individuals who have quite complicated circumstances they are having to navigate. It is a multitude of different issues they are working through.'

A troubled community centre in King's Lynn has also been given a financial boost, to the tune of almost £350,000. The North Lynn Discovery Centre, in Columbia Way, has been awarded funds for a scheme that will offer training and support for 'disadvantaged young people in rural communities'.

It will build on the Whatyasay West Norfolk project and funds will go towards employing youth workers and apprentices to support its work. The grant is being seen as a positive boost for the North Lynn Discovery Centre, which was forced to close its popular after school club earlier this year. Bosses had to rethink the centre's purpose for the future. Kevin Howard, the centre's chairman of trustees, said: 'The North Lynn Discovery Centre has been through some stormy times recently but we see this as a positive investment for west Norfolk.'

He added: 'We learned before that what we were offering wasn't sustainable – and we're more confident that this has a better outlook.

'The future is now looking much more positive for the Discovery Centre and it will continue serving west Norfolk communities.'

n A scheme that helps those who struggle with interpersonal skills and lack the confidence to even leave their homes has been awarded lottery funds to expand into the Fens.

The CP Learning Trust, based in Chatteris, Cambridgeshire, will receive just over £340,000 to scale up its initial pilot for the 'Learning for Wellbeing' project to replicate its model which has already been successful in the Peterborough area.

LOTTERY FUNDED PROJECTS IN THE REGION

• King's Lynn

North Lynn Discovery Ltd Whatyasay West Norfolk, King's Lynn £348,388

• Norwich

Age UK Norwich Age Wise Norwich £360,087

Norfolk Carers Support Transitions £401,715

The Bridge Plus+ Ltd Domestic Violence Advice and Advocacy for BME communities in Norfolk, Norwich £9,040

St Michael's VA Junior School St Michael's Cyber Coach Project, Norwich £8,950

Norwich Community Agriculture Ltd Resiting Norwich Farmshare, Feasibility Study and Consultation £10,000

St Eds Norwich Skills Centre kitchen expansion and refurbishment £9,546

GR8 AS U R Storytelling Events, Norwich £9,900

Hardley Road Allotment Association Harvest Bounty, Norwich £9,762

Aerotoxic Association Aerotoxic Syndrome supporting the community, Norwich £9,750

Playground Extension Project £8,720.

Norwich Healthy Living Community Health and Wellbeing £9,838

She Is... Girls Inspiring Girls Project, Norwich £9,850

Jubilee Community Association Improving health and selfcare of the younger community £10,000

• Great Yarmouth

Hillside Primary School Early Years PlaySpace £10,000

Litchfield Community Centre Litchfield Lives £9,997

East Anglian Complimentary Health Be Free To Be Happy £9,980

Emmanuel Church Community Connect £10,000

GYGYC Great Yarmouth and Gorleston Young Carers, Pink Group £9,965

Great Yarmouth Bike Project Bikability 2016 £9,995

Leading Choices £10,000

• Blythburgh

Blythburgh Village Hall Refurbishment of village hall kitchen £5,274

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