West Midlands groups share £1.9m Big Lottery Fund cash

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Herefordshire's Courtyard Trust is one of 10 projects in the West Midlands to share grants totalling more than £1.9m from the Big Lottery Fund.

The trust has been awarded £103,000 to create a range of drama, dance, poetry and comedy workshops for older people across the county.

It has worked with the Alzheimer's Society and Age UK to create "mentally stimulating" activities, it said.

The trust launched its "older people arts initiative" last year.

Arts and older people officer Alex Outhwaite said the Courtyard Trust had already worked with Silver Comedy to launch comedy and improvisation workshops in local care homes.

"We found the workshops appealed particularly to men, who sometimes don't engage with regular activities," she said.

Community hub

Three schemes in the Sandwell area have been awarded almost £800,000 to continue their work, mainly with families.

Christ Church C of E Primary School received funding to set up a community hub to serve five local schools.

The primary school said it would use the funding, almost £350,000, to support families in the area with childcare needs.

Fellow Sandwell group The Confederation of Bangladeshi Organisations has been awarded more than £200,000 to support families.

It said the Greets Green Resource Centre would be used to host activities to tackle issues such as mental health, social isolation and lack of employment skills.

Families are also the target of Staffordshire's Newcastle-under-Lyme Home Start group, which won more than £300,000 to support people with a disabled child or suffering from long-term mental health problems.

John Taylor, head of the Big Lottery Fund in the West Midlands, said all of the projects would "make a big impact in improving lives across the region".

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