£500,000 given to Hackney support service, Off Centre

Psychosocial activities include sports. Pic: Off Centre

Psychosocial activities include sports. Pic: Off Centre

A Hackney youth charity has been awarded £500,000 by the Big Lottery Fund.

Not-for-profit organisation Off Centre offers innovative support services for young people in Hackney and the surrounding boroughs.

The grant is the biggest that the organisation has received in its 40-year history.

In particular, the award recognises Off Centre’s “The Right Track” project, which has been running for the past four years.

“The Right Track” provides psychosocial support activities, advice and specialist services and is run by a multidisciplinary therapy team.

Off Centre also delivers short-term community projects, for example the development of a therapy group for girls from a school in Hackney last spring.

CEO, Martin Williams, said: “We are thrilled that the Big Lottery Fund agrees our vital work should continue in Hackney. In the current climate, it means even more to small charities like ours to have the support of donors to fill the gaps left by huge government cuts.”

“Every pound makes a difference to the young people we work with, and to our community, so this grant is incredible.”

On a recent feedback form, a young person helped by the service said: “I am always excited before I come to this group because I know that I am surrounded by people who care and that makes me feel happy inside.”

The Big Lottery Fund gives millions of pounds from the National Lottery each year to worthwhile community groups and projects.

Off Centre will use the money to grant the wishes of service users, who have requested more community outreach programmes, peer mentoring and careers training.

Hackney councillor, Jonathan McShane, who is the cabinet member for health and social care congratulated the charity on Twitter.

He said: “Brilliant news as Off Centre UK wins £1/2 million from Big Lottery to support their amazing work in Hackney and beyond.”

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