Lewisham is one of the 15 areas in England to be awarded part of £5m in lottery funding to improve the lives of young children and tackle poverty, the Big Lotter Fund announced on Wednesday.
The Big Lottery Cash Fund will be used to develop ideas aimed at improving children’s lives up to the age of three. In Lewisham The Children’s Society is leading the responsibility for administering the grant of £398,000. They want it to go towards tackling issues such as poverty and domestic violence.
The Children’s Society said: “The level of child poverty in Lewisham is significantly worse than the national average and health challenges in the local area include vitamin D deficiency- a well known cause of rickets in children, poor immunisation uptake, and high levels of physical disability and learning difficulties in children.
“The project aims to improve nutrition, social and emotional development, and communication and learning, which are fundamental to a great childhood and beyond.”
Clare Button, the charity’s development manager for Lewisham said they would improve local services with the money and create an information hub: “Lewisham Village would create a vibrant hub where parents could share ideas, thoughts and feelings and be equipped with valuable knowledge and skills to help their children flourish.”
All the schemes are being developed with input from major children’s charities including Barnardo’s, The Children’s Society, and the NSPCC, in partnership with local family and learning groups.This particular grant forms part of the lottery fund’s “Better Start Initiative” which will involve £165 million over 10 years and aims to help 10,000 children.
The other areas that will receive funding are: Leicester, Nottingham, Luton, Southend-on-Sea, Lambeth, Haringey, Middlesbrough, Northumberland, Newcastle, Greater Manchester, Blackpool, Medway, Bradford and Sheffield.