The Big Lottery Fund has teamed up with the Scottish Government to launch the Communities and Families Fund a new multi million programme aimed at helping Scotland’s children get the best start in life.
The £6 million fund will offer grassroots projects the chance to apply for funding of between £250 to £10,000 over the next three years. It will focus on improving early learning, health and wellbeing for children under eight years old by supporting them, their families and communities.
Speaking at the launch of the Communities and Families Fund launch at the Lottery funded Reidvale Adventure Play Association (RAPA) dad Barry McFarlane knows the difference local projects can make – no matter how small.
He said: “I went to RAPA as a wee boy. Before the centre was built, there was a skate park in that space. It was full of broken glass and used drugs needles. It was a mess. And I remember when the centre opened – it was such a big change! They even put in a new football park.”
“Now my wee boy, Kai, uses the centre. He’ll be eight in July. He used to be shy but he’s come out his shell. What I love most about the place is the environment: it’s a safe, supervised play area and there is never any trouble. All the staff help the kids to play and to integrate with each other.”
Aileen Campbell, Minister for Children and Young People added: “The Scottish Government wants Scotland to be the best place in the world for children to grow up and a key part of achieving that involves helping families and communities flourish.
“This new joint venture with the Big Lottery Fund will help make that happen by allowing communities to bid for a share of the funding for the kind of projects they need to improve the lives of local children and families such as playgroups and crèches or even to refurbish local playgrounds.
Liz Cameron, Vice Chair of the Big Lottery Fund Scotland Committee said: “This is all about giving Scotland’s next generation the best possible start in life. With this new £6 million fund we hope we can create new play and early learning projects as well as health and wellbeing schemes for children, their parents and also parents to be.”
The Communities and Families Fund is set to run over the next three years with £4.5 million from the Scottish Government and £1.5 million from the largest of the National Lottery Good Cause distributors the Big Lottery Fund.