RNIB bags share of £5m lottery funding

Employment training scheme for blind people awarded £465,000

An RNIB project to provide employment training and work experience for blind and partially sighted people has been awarded a share of £5m funding from the latest round of the Big Lottery Fund's Reaching Communities programme.

The RNIB's Social Enterprise and Employment Development project has been given a grant of £465,000 to provide skills help and work placements in areas such as catering, finance and marketing.

It is one of 22 schemes to have received funding from the latest round of grants.

The project, which will operate in Birmingham, Leeds and locations across the north east of England, will arrange two-week work placements that could develop into six-month trainee placements.

"The new funding is a timely boost because it gives us an opportunity to build on our efforts to get people into work placements, training and, ultimately, permanent employment, as well as to break down the obstacles employers perceive through awareness and training sessions," said Sean Owen, national employment services manager at the RNIB.

The funding is at the upper level of Reaching Communities grants, which can be anything between £10,000 and £500,000.

In a separate award, aid agency Care International has been awarded £5m by the Big Lottery Fund to help stem the spread of HIV/Aids among mobile populations in India, Bangladesh and Nepal.

The money will be used to set up drop-in centres and counselling services and to run public awareness campaigns. A research centre to influence governments will also be created.

Mathew Little recommends

Care International

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