At least £1 million of lottery good cause funding is to flow into South Bermondsey as the Big Lottery Fund (BIG) announces the first 50 areas across England to benefit from its Big Local Trust programme.
BIG is investing up to £200 million over the next ten years to help turn up to 150 urban and rural neighbourhoods into better places for everyone to live.
The targeted neighbourhoods and are all places where people face many social obstacles and have a history of difficulty in obtaining resources, including funding from BIG, to help overcome them.
"The Big Local Trust is a dedicated Lottery funding stream to help people in neighbourhoods such as South Bermondsey to identify local issues and to develop the skills and confidence necessary to change things for the better," says Alison Rowe, Big Lottery Fund's London regional head.
"We hope that by securing funding for the long-term and by offering a commitment to providing dedicated local support, the Big Local Trust will bring lasting positive changes to South Bermondsey and its residents."
An independent charitable trust will be set up to run the programme and BIG is inviting expressions of interest from organisations who wish to apply to run the trust. Organisations interested in becoming a trustee are being asked to contact the Big Lottery Fund by Thursday 12 August.
"The Big Local Trust programme is a great opportunity for South Bermondsey, but a real challenge for the administrators," says local councillor Graham Neale.
"There are groups and communities in South Bermondsey who could really benefit from this, but who may need support in applying and getting this help.
"In the time that I have been a councillor here I have met community volunteers who could make great use of some capital investment. I have met isolated older residents who have asked me for support, and young people, whose life chances will be constrained because they live in a poor neighbourhood.
"South Bermondsey deserves all the support it is offered. Our challenge is to make sure the funding is fully received, and not simply spent on administrators and bureaucracy. We want to see this Lottery funding improving lives, not being wasted in an office away from the deserving.
"Often the people who can make best use of this type of initiative are those least able to understand the criteria for successful bids.
"Our challenge will be to make sure local residents are made aware of, and assisted in applying for, this mega-opportunity."
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