Lotto funding joy as four charities get vital grants

Michael Pugh with some of the lost property items left on South Western Railway trains

False teeth and barrister’s wig among lost items on South West Railway trains

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FOUR charities have been awarded more than £350,000 between them from the National Lottery to fund vital community projects for people in the area.

In total, £357,026 was given from the Big Lottery Fund to four organisations around Portsmouth, part of almost £2m shared among 71 causes in the south east.

Hampshire-based homelessness charity The Society of St James received £338,234, which it will use in a collaborative project with Pompey in the Community to provide a sports and education rehabilitation programme for vulnerable adults who are at risk of homelessness.

Clare Martin, CEO of Pompey in the Community, said the project called Refit adds to the already-strong partnership between the two charities.

She said:‘We’ve been working with the The Society of St James for around four years now, so this new scheme is building on the relationship that we already have.

‘It will use sport to reach and engage those who are at risk of homelessness. The participants will play sports and then gain volunteering roles and hopefully at the end of it they can find full-time work.’

Relate Portsmouth and District, which has offices in Portsmouth and the surrounding area, was granted £9,600 to set up a pilot counselling programme for people who are about to become carers for friends and relatives.

Community organisation Wimbledon Park Patch supports the development of the area in Southsea, and will use the £1,100 grant to install a willow dome structure and run craft workshops over two days to provide a new meeting space in the park and encourage its use.

Family support service Home-Start Butser, based in Petersfield, was awarded £8,092, which will be used to appoint a community ambassador co-ordinator to support a network of local volunteers.

The charity support families with weekly visits for practical and emotional support.

Nicola Winter, scheme manager, said: ‘We’re really excited about it and the response to the project has been incredible.

‘We rely on donations, especially in the current financial climate, so the funding has been a big help.’

Lyn Cole, from the Big Lottery Fund, said: ‘These projects will make a huge difference to the lives of many.

‘They are excellent examples of local people working together to help others in their community to build on the skills they have and maximise their potential.’