Lottery windfall might not be millions but it’ll do nicely

Justice Secretary and Falkirk West MSP Michael Matheson launches this years Cashback for Communities scheme at Bonnybridge Primary School this week with Falkirk Fury coach John Bunyan
Justice Secretary and Falkirk West MSP Michael Matheson launches this years Cashback for Communities scheme at Bonnybridge Primary School this week with Falkirk Fury coach John Bunyan
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It might not have been millions the lottery handed out to local groups this week but the vital windfalls were a welcome shot in the arm.

Four organisations were celebrating the cash given by the Awards for All initiative in a bumper round of grants which will be used to improve a community’s football pitch organise more cycling events, provide support for vulnerable people, help fund outings and events for a group for older people as well as fund more fitness activities.

Falkirk Bicycle Club was given £5712 to develop its cycling events with new software and equipment, Falkirk Community Trust got £10,000 to install a new drainage system for Maddiston’s football pitch, Falkirk Family Support Community Interest Company received £10,000 to enable the group training to volunteers, Falkirk Muslim Community Club 55 and Over got £9625 to provide more activities for its members; and Ship Shape Leisure CIC will use £9874 to develop its programme of free fitness activities in the Camelon and Tamfourhill areas.

The family support group was established in the district as a not-for-profit community interest company in October last year with a mission of offering free independent advice, guidance and support to the Falkirk district’s most vulnerable children, young people and families.

The group works with partners to highlight issues that children, families and vulnerable adults face due to inequality and disadvantage across Falkirk area.

This includes supporting people at home through a mixture of volunteer and family support workers offering assistance depending on circumstances and needs.

Service manager Alisdair Bissett (44), a social worker who used to work with national charity Barnardo’s, has already started pilot projects to train more volunteers, which the Awards for All funding will help with, to provide much-needed support for people in their homes.

He said: “We work in communities and we are training around 15 people up at the moment, with hopefully more in the future. It’s still early days for us

“It’s not important what type of support you need, we are not experts at everything so may have to signpost people to the relevant services, such as drug addiction services.

“We are piloting our training programme in Camelon and Grangemouth. It’s an eight-week programme which gives volunteers the necessary skills to be confident about support at home.

“Our volunteers can be any age from young to older people and we believe in equality and diversity and being inclusive to all within our communities.”

Groups across the country received grants through Awards for All Scotland – a partnership by sportscotland and Big Lottery Fund – to the tune of £1,348,056 which will help communities organise the likes of summer fetes and festivals.

An Awards for All Scotland spokesperson said: “The smallest amount of funding can often make the biggest difference to communities across the country.

“This £1.3m investment will help projects across Scotland organise a wide range of events which will bring people of all ages together to celebrate, sing, dance and take part in a range of fun activities over the summer months.”

Awards for All Scotland gives out grants of between £500 and £10,000 to projects which help bring communities together through a range of activities. For funding application forms visit www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/awardsforallscotland.

Grab a share of criminal cash

Justice Secretary Michael Matheson was on home turf on Monday to launch this year’s Cashback for Communities funding.

The cash, which is confiscated from convicted criminals from the proceeds of crime, helps pay for activities and events for disadvantaged children.

Mr Matheson announced £17 million has been committed for the next phase of funding at Bonnybridge Primary School.

He was accompanied by former Falkirk Fury player Johnny Bunyan – now playing professionally with Glasgow Rocks as well as the Scotland team.

They were with youngsters who have benefitted from the Jump2it basketball programme which was funded by the Cashback initiative.

Mr Matheson said: “I had a fantastic time at my visit to Bonnybridge Primary School seeing the great work already being done under the previous phase of CashBack and hearing first-hand how much the children value the Jump2it program.

“It seems only right that even more young people across Scotland should benefit from these kinds of opportunities which is why I am extremely pleased to be able to commit such a substantial amount of funding for the unique CashBack for Communities programme.

“This money will go a long way to changing the lives of our young people and it seems only fitting that the money seized from the criminals who seek to peddle misery in some of our most disadvantaged communities is reinvested back in to those same areas.”

For more information on the Cashback programme, visit www.cashbackforcommunities.org.