£1m lottery win to help preston families out of poverty trap

The Friends of Fishwick and St Matthews in Preston have come up with a series of projects designed to improve the area, following a �1 million lottery grant. Pictured are Friends Vice-Chairman Martyn Rawlinson (left) with the plan, local residents and council representatives with the �1 million cheque.
The Friends of Fishwick and St Matthews in Preston have come up with a series of projects designed to improve the area, following a �1 million lottery grant. Pictured are Friends Vice-Chairman Martyn Rawlinson (left) with the plan, local residents and council representatives with the �1 million cheque.
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Projects to help families out of poverty and into work have been announced as part of a £1m lottery win.

The Friends of Fishwick and St Matthew’s in Preston were given the cash to boost community work over the next 10 years, and residents have been given a say on where the money is most needed.

Plans for the first year are to offer fairer loans for residents living in Inner East Preston, to help people into work, and to provide crèche facilities to help women while they are training close to home.

Martyn Rawlinson, vice chairman of the Friends of Fishwick and St Matthew’s, said: “The consultation that we did was broken down into five themes, two were employment and training, and poverty, and part of poverty is what’s being called financial exclusion.”

The friends group has come up with three projects, which will be delivered by local organisations.

Mr Rawlinson, who is also a councillor for Fishwick ward, explained the first three schemes.

He said: “One is helping people back into work, finding them training, jobs, any sort of support we can.

“Another is providing a crèche facility while they do training or confidence building.”

The “access to work” scheme is to be delivered by Fishwick Rangers, while the crèche will be provided by Sahara, based in Fishwick.

Mr Rawlinson said: “The Sahara and Fishwick Rangers projects are about getting people over the difficult hurdles of getting into training or work.”

£1m is not a lot of money for an area like Fishwick and St Matthew’s, but if we’re clever we hope it will have a big impact.

Martyn Rawlinson

The “financial inclusion” schemes will provide loans at very low interest rates, through Lancashire Community Finance.

Mr Rawlinson said: “It is bringing the services right into Fishwick and St Matthew’s, trying to stop people taking doorstep loans or pay day loans.

“So they are paying reasonable interest rates over a reasonable period with affordable repayments that doesn’t leave them broke every week.

“And it includes advice and budgeting to try to get people out of this cycle.”

Map showing the Inner East Preston Area Boundary

Map showing the Inner East Preston Area Boundary

The projects announced are the first from the area’s Big Local windfall, which is also hoped to enhance green space and social activities among the early schemes.

Mr Rawlinson said: “We are being very careful at the outset to try to do projects that will make a big difference.

“£1m is not a lot of money for an area like Fishwick and St Matthew’s, but if we’re clever we hope it will have a big impact.

“There are other things to address which we are going to move on to, which are improving green spaces and putting more social activities on for people.

“We’ve started looking at them, but we haven’t come up with finalised projects yet.”

The lottery cash is specifically for schemes within Fishwick and St Matthew’s.

Mr Rawlinson said: “When the coalition government came to power in 2010 they stopped this kind of funding that usually went directly to the council.

“Preston Council was getting £3.5m a year area based grants for the whole of Preston.

“That was just stopped and not replaced, so this is very much the replacement for that but it’s only for Fishwick and St Matthew’s.”