13 August 2012

YMCA Black Country Group has received money in order to change people’s health for life, in Sandwell. The funding comes from BIG’s Reaching Communities programme which awards grants to projects that make a difference to the lives of people most in need across England.

BIG’s Director of England, Dharmendra Kanani, is visiting the YMCA on Carters Green, West Bromwich  to meet some of the young people benefiting from today’s funding. He said: “BIG’s support for groups such as Sandwell Young Carers and YMCA Black Country is vital in reaching young people facing some of the most difficult circumstances who may otherwise struggle to get the help they need. Both projects demonstrate the power of the voluntary sector to reach parts of communities that others fail to and is a classic example of how BIG funding adds value to communities in need.”

YMCA Black Country Group receives £287,334 to support young people and young adults aged 16 to 35 with physical and mental health problems in West Bromwich. The project aims to improve people’s health and wellbeing by offering a health assessment and access to a 24-week health and well-being programme tailored to individual needs and interests. The programme will include cooking sessions, exercise classes, yoga, aromatherapy and healthy living workshops.

The project will be delivered at community venues and in YMCA’s West Bromwich premises which house a gym and kitchen facilities. Volunteers and ex-service users will take up practical roles within the gym and kitchen to help deliver the programme which aims to reach hundreds of people in need.

Pauline Tomlinson, YMCA Executive Head of Business Development, Skills, Enterprise and Community Services, said: “The YMCA is delighted to receive this funding to support marginalised young adults in Sandwell. This project targets those individuals most at risk of long term health conditions which can be easily controlled or avoided entirely. The idea was first suggested by Michael Rossington – Head of Operations who identified this as a need for Sandwell and we both worked to secure the funds to ensure health and other related benefits for young people and their families. It will make a huge difference to many lives and will have a positive impact on health in the borough for years to come.”

Nicola Wright, 31, from Great Barr said: “When I started in the gym three years ago I was very overweight, lacking in energy and generally unhealthy. Since being in the gym I have lost over 5 stone, gained much more confidence, have lots more energy and continue to eat a healthy diet. After enjoying the gym so much I decided to go back to college and I am now a fully qualified gym instructor.”

Reaching Communities offers grants of between £10,000 and £500,000 to revenue and capital projects that help people and communities most in need. Projects can apply for funding if they are a voluntary or community organisation, school, local authority, not for profit organisation or social enterprise.

More information can be found at www.biglotteryfund.org.uk or by calling 0845 4102030.