£190,000 grant for Woodley charityBy Caroline Cook
August 01, 2011
A charity that helps children and young people with additional needs in Wokingham is celebrating after being given a £190,000 grant.
Members of the Me2Club based in Headley Road, Woodley, were delighted to learn the charity had been awarded the sum from the National Lottery to help it continue its work over the next five years.
Amy Russell, assistant project co-ordinator for the Me2Club, said: “We are absolutely thrilled.
“At the moment it’s a particularly difficult time for funding so we are delighted to be given this money which will allow us to do our work sustainably.
“It is based on the next five years, so it gives us a chance to look forward.”
The Me2Club works to support children with learning, physical or behavioural disabilities by giving them equal access to out-of-school activities such as scouts, brownies, sports and youth clubs.
Each child has their needs assessed by project staff and works with a fully-trained volunteer, aged between 16 and 25, who spends time with them and their family.
Volunteers then attend weekly local activities with the child to help them interact with other young people.
The charity has also been piloting a weekend break programme that will continue and develop using some of the Big Lottery Fund cash.
Ms Russell said: “We have been piloting weekends away for the children supported by a Me2Club volunteer.
“It is a real chance for them to get to know each other and for the children to get away.
“Lots of children are excluded from things like sleepovers so it’s a chance for them to be able to be a bit independent.”
The Me2Club was formed in 2001 and was awarded The Queen’s Award in June this year – the equivalent of an MBE for voluntary groups.
It was one of five organisations in the South East that were given a share of nearly £1.1million from the Big Lottery Fund’s Reaching Communities programme.
The money will also be spent on training activity leaders in the community to help them learn how to involve children with disabilities.
Ms Russell said: “We will be providing more inclusion training for sports leaders and activity leaders on how to include children and the money will enable us to have a new member of staff and take on a few more children.
“It’s a really exciting time for the charity.
“We’ve had a lot of letters from the Big Lottery Fund and every time we get a letter we have opened it waiting to see if we have been successful so we’re really thrilled.”
Fiona Dempsie, head of the South East region at the Big Lottery Fund, added: “These projects are all excellent examples of how the Reaching Communities programme is helping local organisations support vulnerable people right across the South East.
“Whether it’s through reaching out to those who are feeling isolated or helping people to become more independent today’s funding will bring positive changes to the lives of so many people.”