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Lottery half million to improve young lives in Sandwell

14 August 2012

Big Lottery Fund’s England Director Dharmendra Kanani visited the YMCA in West Bromwich yesterday (13 August) to learn how they will spend their share of half a million pounds in Lottery good cause cash.

BIG's Dharmendra Kanani pictured with YMCA staff, volunteers and young people

BIG’s Dharmendra Kanani pictured with YMCA staff, volunteers and young people

YMCA Black Country Group were presented with a cheque for £287,334 from BIG’s Reaching Communities programme to support young people and young adults aged 16 to 35 with physical and mental health problems in West Bromwich.

The project aims to improve people’s health and wellbeing by offering a health assessment and access to a 24-week health and well-being programme tailored to individual needs and interests. The programme will include cooking sessions, exercise classes, yoga, aromatherapy and healthy living workshops.

It will be delivered at community venues and in YMCA’s West Bromwich premises which house a gym and kitchen facilities. Volunteers and ex-service users will take up practical roles within the gym and kitchen to help deliver the programme which aims to reach hundreds of people in need.

Nicola Wright, 31, from Great Barr said: “When I started in the gym three years ago I was very overweight, lacking in energy and generally unhealthy. Since being in the gym I have lost over 5 stone, gained much more confidence, have lots more energy and continue to eat a healthy diet. After enjoying the gym so much I decided to go back to college and I am now a fully qualified gym instructor.”

Pauline Tomlinson, YMCA Executive Head of Business Development, Skills, Enterprise and Community Services, said: “The YMCA is delighted to receive this funding to support marginalised young adults in Sandwell. This project targets those individuals most at risk of long term health conditions which can be easily controlled or avoided entirely. The idea was first suggested by Michael Rossington – Head of Operations who identified this as a need for Sandwell and we both worked to secure the funds to ensure health and other related benefits for young people and their families. It will make a huge difference to many lives and will have a positive impact on health in the borough for years to come.”

There was more good news in the local area as Sandwell Young Carers celebrated receiving £239,600 to help young carers by providing educational support, counselling, peer mentoring, social activities and respite, as well as ensuring access to social care support.

BIG’s Dharmendra Kanani, said: “BIG’s support for groups such as Sandwell Young Carers and YMCA Black Country is vital in reaching young people facing some of the most difficult circumstances who may otherwise struggle to get the help they need. Both projects demonstrate the power of the voluntary sector to reach parts of communities that others fail to and is a classic example of how BIG funding adds value to communities in need.”

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