A little help from my friends: Befriending charity among Scottish youth groups benefitting from 1.2 million Young Start

From: Big Lottery Fund
Published: Tue May 16 2023

Fourteen Scottish groups today (TUESDAY 16 MAY) are celebrating a total cash boost of £1,245,594 from the Young Start fund, distributed by The National Lottery Community Fund.

The Denis Law Legacy Trust group photo

Full list of awards PDF 0.13MB

The projects, which are based all over the country, will see thousands of young people engaging in various activities, which will ultimately bring a brighter, healthier, and more connected future.

One of the groups sharing the funding is Lanarkshire-based Community Volunteers Enabling You Ltd - or COVEY - which has been given £90,000 to continue their befriending service which facilitates social opportunities for young people with additional needs such as autism, Down's Syndrome, or global developmental delay.    

The funding means that over the next three years, up to 25 young people will benefit from the befriending services, which have already been a vital resource for many locals.

Sam who is 22 years old and from East Kilbride has been part of the COVEY group for ten years now, and says it's like a “second family” to him, and has helped give him the courage to start a college course in photography:

Sam said:

“I really don't think I'd have had the courage or determination to start college if I hadn't been part of COVEY for the last ten years. It's such an amazing place and group of people, and when I walk in, I feel like I'm a bubble bursting with energy. I always say COVEY is like a second family to all of us, and I really love being part of it - I feel like I could only see my life in black and white before, but now it's full of colour.”

Deirdre Walker, COVEY Co-ordinator said:

“Thanks to this Young Start funding, we're able to continue the project for at least another three years, which is vital to so many young people just like Sam. It is so rewarding to see experienced participants like Sam supporting newer, less confident group members, as well as helping to design and deliver activity sessions. We're excited to see where their ideas take COVEY next! We are hugely thankful to Young Start for their ongoing investment in the lives of our wonderful young adults!”

In Aberdeen the The Denis Law Legacy Trust is awarded £90,000 to continue its Granite City Speaks project. The project is an advocacy group set up to amplify the voices of young people on the Streetsport programme which delivers free sports and creative activity sessions to young people across the city, largely in deprived areas, and areas of high youth annoyance.

In 2019, The Denis Law Legacy Trust opened a brand-new free to access, floodlit, multi-sport pitch in Torry with the aim to remove barriers to sport and activity for the community. Since then, anti-social behaviour in the area has been slashed by 50% and where the area once topped anti-social behavioural charts - it is now in sixth place.*

Lewis Bell is 15 years old and lives in Kincorth. He started volunteering with Streetsport two years ago, mainly in the Torry area, supporting other children and young people. Last year he became part of the Granite City Speaks project, and through the youth forum he currently sits on the advisory board, the highest level of the charity.

Lewis said:

“I love what I do at Granite City Speaks because I know I'm helping people and helping to influence change. The area I work in, Torry, has been improved massively by the new pitch, and I know we can bring about even more positive change by amplifying the voices of the young people who live in these areas. It's empowering to know I've played a part in that change.”

Announcing today's funding, The National Lottery Community Fund, Scotland Chair, Kate Still, said:

“We're thrilled to be able to continue funding such a broad range of vital projects for young people all over Scotland. Young people like Sam and Lewis sharing their stories reminds us how important these groups are, and how many young lives are improved by Young Start funding.

“We are always keen to support projects that put Scotland's young people at the heart of the development and running of services. If your group has an idea how you would make this happen, then we'd love to hear from you.”           

Young Start helps young people aged eight to 24 become more confident and play an active part in realising their potential. Funding of up to £100,000 is available for youth led projects. Groups can apply by emailing advicescotland@tnlcommunityfund.org.uk or calling 0300 123 7110.      

Find out more at: https://www.tnlcommunityfund.org.uk/funding/programmes/young-start   


Notes to Editors

  • Under the Dormant Bank and Building Society Accounts Act 2008, the Reclaim Fund releases funds from dormant bank accounts to the National Lottery Community Fund for distribution to good causes across the UK.
  • Dormant accounts are defined in the Dormant Bank and Building Society Accounts Act 2008 as those which have seen no customer-initiated activity for at least 15 years.
  • The Reclaim Fund Ltd. (RFL), which was established in March 2011 to receive and invest dormant account balances across the UK, transferred the first tranche of monies from dormant bank and building society accounts to the National Lottery Community Fund on 2 August 2011. Scotland receives 8.4% of the total funds distributed.
  • We are the largest funder of community activity in the UK - we're proud to award money raised by National Lottery players to communities across England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. National Lottery players raise £36 million each week for good causes throughout the UK**. Since The National Lottery began in 1994, £43 billion has been raised for good causes which has supported over 635,000 projects***, benefiting millions of people - that's 255 projects per postcode area.
  • We are passionate about funding great ideas that matter to communities and make a difference to people's lives. At the heart of everything we do is the belief that when people are in the lead, communities thrive. Thanks to the support of National Lottery players, our funding is open to everyone. We're privileged to be able to work with the smallest of local groups right up to UK-wide charities, enabling people and communities to bring their ambitions to life.

Company: Big Lottery Fund

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