Deprived area gets £1m cash boost

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A forgotten “pocket” of Preston is set to be transformed through a £200m nationwide Lottery scheme.

The inner east area of the city, which includes the wards of Fishwick and St Matthew’s, is among nine North West communities allocated £1m Lottery funding through the Big Lottery Fund’s (BIG) Big Local programme.

The residents themselves will be able to decide how to spend the money to improve the two areas over the 10 years.

Coun Veronica Afrin, who represents St Matthew’s, said she was “thrilled”.

She said: “A lot of credit has to go to the Friends of Fishwick and St Matthew’s community group who bring these things to the attention of the Lottery and the Government.

“All my congratulations go to them.

“They’ve already done a consultation about how people would like to see the area improved so we will probably use that to decide how to spend the funding. People particularly want to upgrade parks and facilities for young people, as well as encourage job creation as there is high unemployment in this area.”

The West End area of Morecambe has also scooped the funding.

The Big Lottery fund said the areas had been chosen as having been overlooked for funding and investment in the past and are facing a range of different issues, from the decline of industry to high levels of unemployment and crime, or a pressing need for new support services or activities.

Residents must come together to do the best they can with their £1m, which can be used on anything from training and employment schemes, to tackling anti-social behaviour, creating new community facilities or providing more activities for young people.

Each area will receive training and support from Local Trust – an organisation that will help residents spend the funding and increase their confidence, skills and know-how so they are better able to come together to make positive changes in their areas in future.

Nat Sloane, Big Lottery Fund’s England chairman, said: “These areas have for many years been overlooked and have missed out on vital funding and resources – they have people who are high on aspiration but until now have been low on opportunity.”