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National Lottery grant to help NI domestic abuse scheme

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Women recovering from the trauma of domestic abuse are among those who will benefit from extra support in the latest round of lottery grants.

About £2.7m from the National Lottery Community Fund has been shared out between 55 charity and community projects across Northern Ireland.

Mid-Ulster Women's Aid (MUWA) has been awarded more than £475,000 to run their Starfish project.

The scheme helps women who are exiting support services.

Martina Watson, from MUWA, said the women it helps are often "not able to move on with their lives and, without help, they might return to be dependent, stuck in a cycle of abuse".

She said the scheme allowed staff to "act as professional friends, offering practical one-to-one support so they can live their lives without the ever-present anxiety and loneliness, until they become more confident and have their own support networks".

Ms Watson added it would mean these women would "have a chance to take part in activities, complete qualifications or get help with things they always wanted to do, such as learning to drive - something they may never have been allowed to do before".

"Their trauma is likely to stay with them forever, but this project will help them find a healthy way to cope and make plans for a better future," she added.

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image captionThe Cancer Fund for Children will use a grand of almost £10,000 to deliver their Care Free Choir virtually

Among the other organisations to receive a grant is Facial Palsy UK, which has been awarded £2,220 to deliver virtual support groups.

Janet Robb, who has facial palsy and helps lead the project, said the condition was "not just cosmetic, it can absolutely devastate lives".

"After my own battle over the last nine years, in conjunction with the Facial Palsy UK charity, I set up a Facebook group and over 100 people have been supporting each other, as dedicated health care clinics for facial palsy in NI do not exist," she said.

"This National Lottery funding means for the first time in NI, we can be led, get help and support in a group from a facial palsy expert.

"Through this, people have the opportunity to develop friendships and realise they are not the only ones in this situation, helping improve mental wellbeing."

The Cancer Fund for Children will use a grant of almost £10,000 to deliver their Care Free Choir virtually.

Neil Symington, the fund's community services manager, said the choir was "one way we help young people and their families manage the unpredictability of a cancer diagnosis, whilst also providing an opportunity to build meaningful peer support networks".

Kate Beggs, Northern Ireland director of the National Lottery Community Fund said the "wide range of projects funded demonstrates the strength of their members and the importance of staying connected with each other in these unprecedented times".

Related Topics

  • Women's Aid
  • Charities
  • National Lottery

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