PEOPLE living on Barnstaple's Forches Estate will be helped to learn new skills and gain a greater sense of community pride with a £311,548 Big Lottery Fund award made to Forches Community Association. The Future of Forches project has been awarded the ca

PEOPLE living on Barnstaple's Forches Estate will be helped to learn new skills and gain a greater sense of community pride with a £311,548 Big Lottery Fund award made to Forches Community Association.The Future of Forches project has been awarded the cash from BIG's Reaching Communities programme to help the estate's residents build confidence, learn new skills and improve their quality of life. The estate has high levels of unemployment, debt and benefit dependency, below average educational attainment levels and very low incomes.As part of the project a new community anchor project manager and a lead youth worker will co-ordinate a variety of activities through the Whiddon Valley Community Centre. Activities will include work skills training, and courses in adult literacy and financial literacy. Health issues including mental health, poor diet, obesity, depression and substance misuse will also be addressed through a range of activities.The project also offers community environmental initiatives, encouraging local residents to improve and enhance the local environment, making it a more pleasant and desirable place to live.Frances Walsh, North Devon Homes, Objective 2 Finance and Monitoring Manager, said: "The project will enable the Forches Community Association to bring the old community spirit back together for a brighter future. It continues the work of the last two years tackling issues the community faces with a sense of togetherness. "It will give the community a real sense of worth to know that they have a community association that has been able to win the lottery for them. We can continue to make changes in lives and empower these communities to release the fantastic capacity and make it rise to the surface."Mark Cotton, Big Lottery Fund Head of Region for the South West, said: "This fantastic project will make a real difference to people living on the Forches Estate, improving their skills, boosting their confidence and helping them stay fit and healthy. By funding this project the Big Lottery Fund really is reaching out to a community to improve the lives of local people.