Telford charity for vulnerable families celebrates £165k Lottery funding

Bosses at a cash-strapped charity for vulnerable families are celebrating after being awarded £165,000 in Lotto funding.

Caia Bryant-Griffith, centre, and Vikki Thomas, left, pictured with Lynne Carney from National Lottery Reaching Communities as Home-Start Telford & Wrekin, based in Wellington
Caia Bryant-Griffith, centre, and Vikki Thomas, left, pictured with Lynne Carney from National Lottery Reaching Communities as Home-Start Telford & Wrekin, based in Wellington

Hundreds more families are set to benefit after Home-Start Telford & Wrekin was awarded a National Lottery Reaching Communities grant which will see it receive £33,000 a year for the next five years.

The money will be spent on training and support for more volunteers to work with vulnerable children and families struggling to cope with isolation, illness, mental health issues and domestic abuse.

Based in Glebe Street, Wellington, the service launched a £50,000 fundraising appeal last summer after funds ran low, forcing it to end its Big Hopes Big Futures programme which helped children to reach an appropriate level of development before starting school.

This year it is marking its 30th anniversary and said the lottery gift will secure its future. It relies solely on donations and grants to stay open.

Home-Start manager Caia Bryant-Griffiths said: “This is fantastic news for us and means we are able to recruit and train more volunteers who will be able to help vulnerable families across Telford.

“Receiving a grant for as long as five years is unprecedented for us. We will still need to keep applying for grants and raising donations from individuals and businesses in order to meet our yearly fund-raising targets, but it will certainly help us reach our goals more easily.

“We expect to help more than 300 families using this money, including through the Me Time groups which will give mothers an hour in their week when they can concentrate on themselves and share their experiences with others in the same situation, knowing their child is safe and happy playing in the creche.”

Vital

As well as increasing the number of families they are able to work with, the organisation will also launch three Me Time groups across the borough for mothers to meet and talk to others in similar circumstances while enjoying time to themselves while their children play in a creche.

It is operated with the help of trained volunteers who are assigned to one or more families who they visit weekly to offer support for specific things, such as preparing children to start school life.

Mrs Bryant-Griffiths said following the fundraising drive including an online appeal, the body has so far raised £48,700 including the lottery grant to keep its vital projects going and hopes to hit the £50,000 target soon. It costs £95,000 to keep the charity running each year.

It is among numerous community charities suffering from an annual reduction in the amount available in grant funding.

Home-Start Telford & Wrekin was launched in 1989 and operates as an independent charity.

Feedback from parents served found that 91 per cent saw improvements in their emotional health and wellbeing and 94 per cent felt less isolated.

Home-Start is a national network with branches including Powys, Staffordshire, Dudley, Walsall and Wyre Forest.

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