£40m lottery campaign will 'reach out to most vulnerable'
A new £40 million campaign which aims to transform the lives of the most vulnerable in society will be launched today by the Big Lottery Fund.
Both young and old in communities across Northern Ireland will benefit from the huge cash injection into two Reaching Out projects.
Empowering Young People is a £20m programme supporting those who have been in care, involved in crime or disengaged from education, while Connecting Older People is a £20m scheme aimed at helping isolated and vulnerable older people who have been affected by bereavement or disability.
To mark the launch a debate will be held today to discuss the main issues facing older and young people most at risk across Northern Ireland.
Actor Dan Gordon is chairing the event at the Black Box in Belfast.
The importance of investing in such projects was illustrated by the success of one inter-generational programme in south Belfast. A community project supported by the Big Lottery Fund helped to build friendship bonds between homeless young people and isolated older people.
The Bytes project brought together young people living in Belfast Foyer Hostel and older people from the Malton Fold in Taughmonagh.
Amanda Stewart, Belfast Foyer development officer, said: “This has been a fantastic project that has changed the negative perception the two groups had of each other.”