Thursday, 2 August 2012

Reasons to be cheerful

We have just received a grant of £76,000 from the People's Postcode Lottery Care Trust. It is wonderful to have this 'unrestricted income' meaning we are free to spend it how we think best, rather than the grant giver stipulating what it must be spent on. We need unrestricted income to keep the show on the road, filling in gaps left by reduced grants from local authorities. So thank you People's Postcode Lottery Care Trust and an even bigger thank you to all the players of the People's Postcode Lottery who buy the tickets that contribute to good causes.

BIG (the Big Lottery Fund) has announced two new funds for the North East. One is for people with 'multiple and complex needs' meaning people suffering from combinations of mental ill-health, homelessness, substance misuse or release from prison; the other is to help young people age 18 to 25 into employment. BIG is looking for one application for each fund in the Tyne and Wear area, each must be from a partnership of third sector organisations (charities, voluntary organisations and social enterprises). These are for reasonable amounts of money - £4 million over several years for the complex needs one. Children North East is part of discussions with other organisations to develop these applications. A common feature of adults with complex needs is that they have lost contact with family, even their children - Children North East could assist rebuild those relationships in those cases where all involved want that to happen.

We applied to the North East Policy and Representation Partnership for a small grant to develop a 'child poverty toolkit' for schools. Unintentionally many schools do things that exclude poorer children - the way they manage free school meals, uniform policies, assuming all pupils have internet access at home, the cost of school trips, asks for charity such as non-school uniform days and so on. We have spoken to some schools about this and they are eager to have some help, our toolkit will challenge them to ask the right questions and suggest improvements.

We had a regular review meeting with the People's Postcode Lottery recently, they were very happy that the number of regular players is increasing as apparently it always does in hard times, the hope of winning a big prize is a great attraction when people have little money. BIG gets its money from the National Lottery, for the last 7 years the London Olympics have had a share of that, the voluntary sector hopes that will now revert to supporting other good causes.

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