Award-winning Kinship Care, a charitable organisation that helps and supports kinship carers and their children in the north west, is to share in a major funding boost from the Big Lottery.
Under the Lottery’s ‘Supporting Families Programme’, the charity will benefit from a grant of £669,298 to the UK charity Buttle UK, formerly the Frank Buttle Trust, the largest UK charity providing grant aid solely to individual children and young people in desperate need. Through he umbrella group the money will be distributed through a five-year ‘Kinnections’ project, which will support children across Northern Ireland.
Welcoming the announcement, Kinship Care founder in Londonderry, Jacqueline Williamson, said: “I am absolutely over the moon with this announcement. Children in kinship care haven’t had it easy and many have experienced more in their early years than many of us will experience in a lifetime.”
She continued: “This funding will go a long way towards helping children in kinship care realise and achieve their potential, but most importantly it will help keep families together. I can’t thank the Big Lottery Fund enough, and I am delighted to have the opportunity to work in partnership with Buttle UK.
“This project will keep children in their own families and communities. Children will get the opportunities to meet other children living in the same situation, it will allow kinship carers to share experiences, develop friendships, and give them a voice,” she said.
The funding boost follow’s last year’s success on a personal level for Ms Williamson, when she was chosen as the City Council’s Woman of the Year 2014.
The local group’s mission is to support children who cannot be cared for by their own parents to live safely and securely within their own families and communities.
The money being offered to Kinship Care is one of four groups in the north west receiving financial support from Buttle UK through grants from the National Lottery’s Supporting Families Programme.
The Rural Area Partnership in Derry Limited (RAPID) also received £700,000 to help families in areas including Learmount, Eglinton, Lettershandoney, Newbuildings and Strathfoyle to increase skills and confidence and give their children the best possible start in life.
The project will include activities such as literacy classes, homework clubs, health and wellbeing workshops, and mother and baby activities.
Meanwhile, Mind Wise New Vision has also been awarded £699,380. This grant will be used for a project to give families the skills to better support children with mental health difficulties. It will work across the Western and Southern Health and Social Care Trust areas.
Joanne McDowell, Big Lottery Fund NI director, said she hoped the money would have a really positive impact on the lives of people who need help the most:
“They will strengthen families’ ability to cope with the challenges they face,” she said.