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I-drive Disability News Updates: Wigan disability charity hits the jackpot

Wigan and Leigh People First has been awarded a massive £287,000 by the Big Lottery Fund to support its work helping people with learning difficulties for a further five years, reports Wigan Today.

The Big Lottery Fund distributes money on behalf of the National Lottery to community groups and other projects which improve health, education and the environment. Wigan and Leigh People First was chosen for its Speak Up Speak Out project, which provides leadership skills training, peer support groups and transition workshops for those with learning disabilities and aims to teach them life skills and give them a voice in the community.

Julie Davies, the charity co-ordinator, told Wigan Today: “We are trying to empower our members to be active citizens and take control of their lives.

“A lot of people with learning disabilities will have experienced some form of discrimination in their lives and it really hits their self-esteem. Through peer support and our classes we can build their confidence so that they can contribute in society and see employment as an option.”

Julie admitted that without the fund, the charity would have been in danger of closing later on this year.

“It is a difficult time for all charities money-wise and we don’t get any funding from the council,” she said. We rely on donations and volunteers so the grant gives us a life line.”

The charity, which has been running since 2007, is now on the lookout for a new employee to help on the Speak Up Speak Out project.

In other news, the work of nearly 200 disabled and deaf artists will be displayed as part of the London 2012 Festival, a 12-week programme of arts events to run alongside the Olympics and Paralympics.

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