New fund to help children and families

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A NEW fund aimed at helping children to get the best start in life has been launched by the Big Lottery Fund and the Scottish Government.

The Communities and Families Fund is a grants programme to support local projects that help families and communities encourage children’s development.

Aimed at community groups, voluntary and statutory organisations dealing with children under the age of eight, grants of between £250 and £10,000 can be allocated for a wide range of 12-month initiatives including parenting support and development projects, community play schemes, programmes supporting better nutrition for young children and community-based family support and childcare projects.

Eligible schemes should be set up to enable greater access to early learning, play and child and maternal health support and enable communities to shape and deliver support for families.

A Big Lottery Fund spokesman this week said: “The types of groups we are trying to target are those that normally would not qualify for larger Big Lottery funding due to their size. It’s very much about reaching groups at a grassroots level.”

Examples of groups that have been helped include Urban Roots, a community-led environmental project on the south side of Glasgow which will shortly be promoting the great outdoors by launching a programme of wild activities on a local patch of recently reclaimed woodland. It received £9,950.

6VT Youth Cafe in Edinburgh was awarded £9,940. It teaches basic parenting skills and promotes active play.

Decisions on applications will be made within six weeks and further information about the be can be found online at www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/communitiesandfamilies or by calling 0300 123 7110.