Opinion Former Article

Big Lottery Fund: Big family fun for lottery learning schemes

A diverse range of learning projects that will bring families across England together and help to improve their skills and knowledge are celebrating awards from the Big Lottery Fund today.

The grants - which together total more than £1.8million - are going to eight family schemes. They range from a 'Whacky Scrap Races' challenge involving hundreds of families in Reading to a London allotment project that helps to reduce offending in communities.

The money comes from BIG's Family Learning programme, which helps parents understand more about how their children learn and encourages adults and children to learn as a family.

Sanjay Dighe, Big Lottery Fund's Head of England Committee, said: "BIG's Family Learning programme aims to increase family learning opportunities across England and make them more accessible to people who face barriers to learning or who are not confident helping their children to learn. These eight schemes will offer families hugely enjoyable shared learning experiences that will strengthen their relationships and help them to forge more positive attitudes to learning."

In Reading, hundreds of families - including children, grandparents, aunts and uncles - will work together to build working model vehicles as part of the Whacky Scrap Races project, run by Denefield School.

The five-year project, which was awarded £89,805 from BIG today, will work across six local schools to engage pupils and their families, helping them to spend quality time together while learning essential literacy, numeracy and communication skills. Families will work in teams to try to make the rocket that flies the highest or the car that moves the fastest in a course that will last six to eight weeks and culminate in a Whacky Scrap Races final.

London Action Trust receives £419,859 to run a unique project, which will see ex-offenders or people serving sentences in the community from Barking and Dagenham, Bexley, Greenwich and Newham coming together with their children to plan and manage their own allotments.

With support from the project, families will choose what fruits and vegetables they want to grow and will later learn how to use their produce to make healthy meals. They will also contribute recipes for a family cookbook and put their culinary skills into action cooking for neighbours and friends at a community event.

The project will not only mean families gain a greater knowledge of food and healthy eating, but will help parents who may have become distant from their families to better understand the needs of their children and communicate more effectively with them. Children in offender families will begin to have more positive parental role models and will see alternatives to offending behaviour, which will help to break the inter-generational cycle of offending.

Also in London, ATD Fourth World receives £111,342 to offer London families facing long-term poverty the chance to learn a range of different art skills during residential stays at a facility in Frimley Green, Surrey. And London South Bank University will use £423,279 to hold family learning workshops for prisoners and their children in HMP Holloway and HMP Wormwood Scrubs.

Elsewhere, The Children's House Consultancy Social Enterprise, is awarded £46,862 for a project in Immingham near Grimsby offering 4-11 year olds and their parents a safe environment in which to take part in stimulating and fun art activities such as printmaking, photography, cartoon drawing, weaving and sculpture. An award of £414,542 goes to Nottinghamshire County Council for a programme of family learning activities that encourages local parents, carers and their children to adopt healthier lifestyles.

In the North West, Barnardos' Helping Hands project will use £210,652 to support South Lakeland families to develop activities together, including, hobbies, reading and creative activities. And across the South West, The National Trust For Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty is awarded £121,141 to run a series of family learning activities at various National Trust properties across Devon and Cornwall including photography, growing and cooking food, and creating family portraits.

Big Lottery Fund Press Office: 020 7211 1888
Out of hours contact: 07867 500 572
Public Enquiries Line: 08454 102030 Textphone: 0845 6021 659
Full details of the Big Lottery Fund programmes and grant awards are available on the website: www.biglotteryfund.org.uk

Notes to Editors

. The Big Lottery Fund rolls out close to £2 million in Lottery good cause money every 24 hours which together with other Lottery distributors means that across the UK most people are within a few miles of a Lottery-funded project.
. The Big Lottery Fund, the largest of the National Lottery good cause distributors, has been rolling out grants to health, education, environment and charitable causes across the UK since its inception in June 2004. It was established by Parliament on 1 December 2006.
. Since the National Lottery began in 1994, 28p from every pound spent by the public has gone to Good Causes. As a result, over £20 billion has now been raised and more than 280,000 grants given out across the arts, sport, heritage, charities, health, education and the environment.
. Family Learning is part of the Big Lottery Fund's portfolio of new programmes. The Family Learning programme has £40 million to spend on practical and enjoyable activities for adults and children to do together. Awards of between £10,000 and £500,000 are available to organisations in the community and voluntary sector, statutory bodies (including schools) and private sector organisations across England.

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