£30k lotto boost for three charities

PUBLISHED: 09:00 09 March 2015 | UPDATED: 10:34 09 March 2015

Voluntary Action North Somerset, Badger Centre, Cara Mac Mahon with Frederique Wigmore and Amy Burgess

Voluntary Action North Somerset, Badger Centre, Cara Mac Mahon with Frederique Wigmore and Amy Burgess

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THREE Weston charities are set to make a 'huge difference' in the town after being chosen to benefit from close to £30,000 in grants awarded through the Big Lotto Fund.

XTND childrens group at a previous event.XTND childrens group at a previous event.

Emmanuel Church and XTND are two organisations which have each been presented with £10,000 from the Awards For All scheme.

Voluntary Action North Somerset is the third Weston-based charity to receive a financial boost and will be given £9,053.

The money will be spent on a range of activities and opportunities across the town, and will put to use giving children the chance to explore the outdoors, empowering people within the voluntary sector and making community spaces accessible to all.

Bournville-based charity XTND provides a range of stimulating group activities for children and families.

Emmanuel Church.Emmanuel Church.

It will use its latest £10,000 windfall to run a number of Nature Detective sessions to help families enjoy a host of exciting al fresco experiences.

XTND’s business support administrator Laura Elmont said: “The outdoor sessions will take children to a range of environmental locations such as woods, beaches, ponds and lakes where they will learn and take part in various elements of bushcraft, den-building, fossil hunting, cooking and more.

“As well as employing an experienced and qualified forest school leader, this project will give a local person the opportunity to become a volunteer trainee forest school officer, with training and expenses covered by the grant.”

Voluntary Action North Somerset (VANS) runs district-wide and will use its £9,053 to create a volunteer co-ordinator forum for community groups which rely on volunteers.

The charity’s chief executive Cara MacMahon told the Mercury: “We are going to use the money to put on four events for the volunteering community and the volunteer sector.”

The events will examine what lies in store for the sector, identify issues it is facing and explore the potential for future funding and sustainability.

Ms MacMahon said: “It gives people access to the bigger picture in terms of what is happening in England, what funds are available to help them, what the current trends are and issues facing the sector.

“The grant gives us the ability to pay for someone to spend time developing the forum but also covers the cost of hiring spaces for the events. It will help us keep momentum up surrounding the events.”

Emmanuel Church was also given £10,000. The funding was initially to help improve disabled access to the community hall at its building in Oxford Street in the centre of Weston.

But, due to another lottery-funded project due to be completed to fix its church tower scaffolding would make it impossible to finish the access ramp before the funding deadline runs out.

The church has therefore been given permission to use the £10,000 to renovate the toilets within its building.

Deputy England director of the Big Lottery Fund, Lyn Cole, said: “Awards For All is about using small amounts of money to make a huge difference to local communities and people in need.

“We want to hear from anyone with plans to improve the lives of people around them so please get in touch with our advice line, it could make all the difference.”

For more information on the grants and to find out how to apply visit www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/englandwebinars

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