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BIG effort to ease recession’s effects

17 September 2009

As we are all aware, economic circumstances are challenging in the UK and will remain so for some time.   As the largest distributor of National Lottery good causes funding, BIG clearly has an opportunity and responsibility to play its part in alleviating both the immediate and more longer-term effects.

In June, we explained how we had reprioritised our budgets to identify an extra £50 million to help address recession-related activities this year.  We also explained how a further £43 million was available for longer-term activities across the UK. We are confident that this will make a significant difference to many organisations working with people and communities most in need.

In England, one of the best ways we can provide timely help is through our Reaching Communities programme, where financial advice and support has been a regular feature of awards we have made.

A great example is the City of Brighton and Hove Credit Union Limited. Established in 2001, the Credit Union provides sustainable and accessible low interest loans and savings to financially vulnerable people. In December 2006 the group was awarded a Reaching Communities grant of £76,152 to provide advice and training on money matters for vulnerable people. Even more impressive is the fact this Credit Union is the only one in the area that visits housebound clients.

Funding of £65,325 was awarded to a similar project in London, operated by Deptford and New Cross Credit Union in February 2008. Thanks to this grant the Credit Union has been able to expand its programme of outreach and information services to low-income families, BME communities and refugee groups, many of whom face barriers to accessing conventional financial services.

Bracknell & District Citizens Advice Bureau, which received a Reaching Communities grant in January 2007, is another organisation doing excellent work with financially vulnerable people. Its Money Talks project provides training and advice on topics such as budgeting, choosing credit, managing debt, savings and pensions, child trust funds and basic bank accounts.

There are too many outstanding projects carrying out work in this field to be listed here but in response to the increasing demand for our funding we have boosted the amount of cash available through Reaching Communities this year and if you have a great idea, we ‘d encourage you to apply.

In the meantime, why not let us know about other Lottery-funded projects working in your area that are making an essential difference to communities and people most in need?

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