Barnstaple charity wins major grant for the disadvantaged


- Credit: Archant

Freedom Social Projects to start new project to help people facing severe problems get back on their feet.

A Barnstaple charity has won half a million pounds to help people with severe problems to improve their lives, it was announced today (Tuesday).

Freedom Social Projects has received £499,917 from the Big Lottery Fund to create a new initiative from next month called Bridging the Gap, which will enable it to work with vulnerable or disadvantaged people, helping them to tackle their problems and become more of a part of the community.

The grant will be spread across four years, enabling Freedom Social Projects to continue providing its Open Access Day Centre at Howard Avenue, as well as partly support two day centre workers, a gym instructor and kitchen manager. With computer literacy becoming ever more essential, Bridging The Gap will also provide a ‘digital inclusion specialist’ to work with people at the day centre.

“In our work, we often see people who are experiencing quite severe problems in their lives,” said project manager Phil Noall.

“They may be in unsafe or unsuitable accommodation, poor mental or physical health, experiencing breakdown of family or other relationships, or desperate about how they can feed and clothe their children when they don’t have enough money.

“In those circumstances it is easy for people to feel they are invisible, that they have no voice, that they are overlooked or ignored. In extreme cases, some will have turned to drugs, alcohol, and even criminal behaviour.”

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He said help was available, but people often had no idea where to look, or found it difficult to engage.

“Bridging The Gap aims to break through this sense of hopelessness by offering them time and attention in a safe, friendly environment,” he added.

“Together we will work through the issues which affect them, and ensure they are able to receive the help and support that is available to them.”

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