Big Lottery Fund £2.7m to make 'communities stronger'


A project to reduce the stigma of HIV and other blood-borne viruses is among 14 in Wales sharing more than £2.7m from the Big Lottery Fund.

The Terrence Higgins Trust will also use its grant of £472,557 to offer face to face advice about managing money and helping people back into work.

Another scheme to benefit is Glyndwr Women's Aid in Denbighshire, which has secured £249,703.

Plans to convert a garage into a shop in Trefeglwys, Powys receive £247,604.

The Big Lottery Fund said the money, awarded through its people and places programme, would help to make communities stronger and improve rural and urban environments.

Groups throughout Wales are benefiting from a total of £2,734,221.

The Terrence Higgins Trust (THT) is receiving £472,557 to provide support services to tackle the financial and social exclusion faced by people living with HIV or other blood-borne viruses such as hepatitis B.

Through a training programme aimed at groups not specialising in sexual health, the project aims to reduce stigma associated with the diseases.

Pete Clark, national director of THT Cymru, said: "Despite medical advances, living with these conditions does not just mean remembering to take your pills each day.

"Many of those affected face related challenges in other areas of their lives, including high levels of poverty, unemployment, and unacceptable stigma and discrimination.

'Emotional support'

"At a time when money is tighter than ever, this grant will offer invaluable support for people with HIV and hepatitis across Wales.

"That might be a workshop on how to get back into work, face to face advice on how to manage finances from someone who is also living with HIV or hepatitis, or emotional support for their unpaid carers. This is such an important project. It has the potential to help so many people in many different aspects of their lives."

Lylac Ridge in Risca, Caerphilly will use £199,212 to provide an animal therapy service for more than 300 children aged from six to 11 with speech, language and communication issues.

Young people with conditions such as autism, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, dyslexia and dyspraxia will handle and interact with animals including donkeys, reindeer, pigs, goats and chinchillas.

Animal education director Stacey Blunt said: "We know there is evidence anecdotally but this research will provide some firm evidence showing the impact it can have. For me just putting a smile on the face of a child is enough but I've seen animals make a big difference to the way young people interact."

Glyndwr Women's Aid in Denbighshire will use £249,703 to provide drop-in sessions, parenting classes, counselling and debt advice.

Gisda Cyfyngedig in Gwynedd is awarded £289,075 to improve communication and confidence of vulnerable young people by giving them skills to live independently.

Meanwhile, Trefeglwys Community Shop Limited, near Newtown, Powys receives £247,604 to convert a garage into a village shop and tearoom. Community and educational facilities will also be provided.

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