Beds, Herts & Bucks

Big Lottery awards £550,000 to community charities

A youth charity in Hertfordshire has received a grant of £300,000 from the Big Lottery Fund to help young people into employment.

Personal development and money management are two of the skills the beneficiaries can learn at Central Hertfordshire YMCA at Space Stevenage.

The Big Lottery Fund has also given more than £255,000 to the Bedfordshire African Community Centre, Luton.

The funds will be used to extend its mental health services.

'Grateful and honoured'

Bony Shamalo, executive director of the Bedfordshire African Community Centre, said it was becoming more difficult to get grants from government bodies "so we are grateful to get it and honoured at this vote of confidence from the Big Lottery Fund".

He added: "In the past five years that we've run this project, we've had more than 2,000 beneficiaries - and not just Africans.

"When you have a problem you have no colour [barrier] and we are committed to equal opportunities."

Jonathan Clarke, from the Big Lottery Fund, said: "All the projects receiving Lottery money today have worked hard to apply for vital funds which will make a big difference to people in their communities."

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