Big Lottery Fund launches £25m scheme to back long-term projects for young people

The Realising Ambition scheme will expand 25 projects designed to steer young people away from crime

Peter Wanless
Peter Wanless

The Big Lottery Fund has launched the first part of a new scheme to support long-term projects to help young people.

The £25m Realising Ambition scheme will expand 25 projects designed to steer young people away from crime.

The projects, which are expected to help about 250,000 young people over three to five years, are run by 23 charities, universities and health trusts. The biggest individual recipient of funding was Barnardo’s, which will be given £1.5m for its LifeSkills programme. LifeSkills is designed to reduce violence, smoking, drug and alcohol use among young people by helping them handle difficult situations and avoid risky behaviour. Action for Children will receive £1.4m for a family therapy project.

The winning projects were chosen by young people’s charity Catch22, with the Young Foundation, the Dartington Social Research Unit, Substance and Rathbone.

Work with young people is one of the three to four priority areas for which the Big Lottery Fund will fund long-term projects, announced last week. The other priority areas are older people and complex needs. The remaining priority area has yet to be decided.

Peter Wanless, chief executive of the Big Lottery Fund, said: "With Catch22’s help we are extending massively the reach of 25 projects that have been shown to work well and have the potential to be replicated beyond the numbers they are currently helping. Our support will help thousands of young people across the UK to increase their prospects and aspirations, overcome problematic behaviour and avoid pitfalls that could ultimately lead them into a cycle of offending.

"But the benefits we hope will be wider still. This investment will build an evidence base so the UK can understand far better how we can more effectively support children and young people in the future and prevent first-time offending."

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