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LIFE-CHANGING WORK OF BRISTOL CHARITY VOTED UK’S BEST

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Diversity’s Ashley Banjo surprises 1625 Independent People with news

Britain’s Got Talent Winner, Ashley Banjo from Diversity, today (Tuesday 25 August) presented young people and youth workers at Bristol charity, 1625 Independent People, with a National Lottery Awards trophy.

The charity’s Future 4 Me project beat off stiff competition from larger, national projects to get 7,333 votes to win Best Voluntary/Charity project in this year’s National Lottery Awards - the annual search to find the UK’s favourite Lottery funded projects.

As well as receiving an iconic National Lottery Awards trophy, the charity wins a £2,000 cash prize and will have its work showcased at a star-studded Awards ceremony, The National Lottery Stars, broadcast on BBC One on Monday 21 September.

Over the last three years, Future 4 Me has helped 365 young people in the West of England get their lives back on track after they have left care and custody. 

The project’s unique approach provides intensive one-to-one support around housing, mentoring, independent living skills, counselling, education, training and employment opportunities – helping young people rebuild their lives.

Ashley Banjo, leader of dance troupe Diversity, which won the third series of Britain's Got Talent, was delighted to meet young people supported by the project and youth workers: 

“Future 4 Me is an incredibly inspirational project which has turned hundreds of young lives around.  Those helped speak volumes about the practical and intensive support they have had through difficult times.  National Lottery players should be proud that their money is having such a positive impact on so many young people.”

Jamie Gill, Partnerships Director from 1625 Independent People, is delighted that their work has been recognised by the British public:

“It was brilliant to see the young people’s joy and surprise when Ashley presented them with a National Lottery Awards trophy.  We’ve been overwhelmed by the support we’ve received; a million thanks to everyone who voted for us.  This is tremendous recognition for the achievements of our young people and will showcase our work to a national audience.”

One of the young people helped by Future 4 Me is Sophia who went into care aged 15. It was a very difficult and challenging time for her and disrupted her education. At 17, she was preparing to leave care and connected with Future 4 Me. Their priorities were making sure she had a safe, stable place to live, rebuilding her confidence and getting her back into education.

During her two years with Future 4 Me, Sophia turned her life around, achieved a qualification and is now employed by North Somerset Council, helping to design services and courses to improve the lives of other young people.

Sophia is very grateful for the support she received from Future 4 Me:

“I am delighted that the British public have recognised that 1625 Independent People is such an amazing charity. I don’t know where I’d be without Future 4 Me.  Before I had their help, I was getting into trouble and I didn’t care about much. Now my life is exactly where I want it to be – helping other young people leaving care so they can get the right support they need too.”

Ends


Notes to the editor

Notes to Editors:

• Future 4 Me has received £1 million of National Lottery funding through the BIG Lottery Fund
• There are seven categories in the National Lottery Awards, reflecting the main areas of Lottery funding: arts, education, environment, health, heritage, sport, and voluntary/charity
• Over 650 Lottery-funded projects entered this year’s National Lottery Awards, a judging panel whittled this down to 49 finalists, seven in seven categories.
• Future 4 Me competed against six other charities in the public vote: Changing Minds, The Silver Line Helpline, Sparkhill Foodbank, Home-Start Ryedale, Joined-Up Linking and Marie Curie Helper Service.
• On average the National Lottery players raise over £34 million each week – making a life changing difference to the nation.
• To date there have been an average of 144 national Lottery grants for every postcode district
• Further information at www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk

For more information and images, please contact:

Michael Thompson on 020 7211 3894/07734 295745 or michael.thompson@lotterygoodcauses.org.uk

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