Norwich City community football project lands �400,000 lottery grant
The future of an innovative Canary-linked community project has been secured by a grant of nearly �400,000.
The funding will allow the Norwich City Community Sports Foundation to continue its Street Life Soccer Project for the next five years.
The money comes from the Big Lottery Fund's Reaching Communities programme which aims to help those most in need and build stronger communities.
The programme has handed �397,106 to the Foundation to be used to expand Street Life Soccer in Norwich, King's Lynn and Great Yarmouth.
The good news comes hot on the heels of City's promotion to the Premier League and Foundation director Ian Thornton feels this funding has led to a promotion of their own.
He said: 'The grant will allow us to help over 600 homeless and vulnerably housed people, ex-offenders, mental health groups and people from ethnic minorities to achieve their goals by delivering sports and education sessions which lead to qualifications and increased levels of health and fitness.
The Norwich City Community Sports Foundation is the re-branded Football In The Community group that was launched at the turn of this year with some star names as ambassadors.
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Majority shareholder at Carrow Road Delia Smith is joined by TV presenters Jake Humphrey and Simon Thomas, both famous supporters of the Canaries, as well as former players such as Iwan Roberts, Dean Ashton and Craig Fleming.
Mr Thornton continued: 'The project also aims to prepare participants to progress into employment and sustainable independent living.
'This project really will make a difference to people's lives and we are delighted that the Big Lottery Fund have chosen to fund it.'
The project is one of many community projects based around football that the Foundation runs.
Community cohesion manager Dan Crouch is delighted that their work can continue to be develop and that many jobs within the organisation have now been secured.
He added: 'It will affect a number of roles in the Foundation by bringing a lot more job security.
'We've had success in the past two or three years in getting people involved on the project into work with us. We are always looking to progress people with our system in that way.
'This funding strengthens our message. We are more than just football, but that is our key hook, and since our re-brand it really feels like we are building some momentum.
'Obviously we are a charity and we are separate from Norwich City but we are strongly associated with them and their success on the pitch is a big help to us because they are on our badge and their success adds to what we are doing.'
The money is part of �2m which has been awarded to groups around the east of England today.
This has also seen The Benjamin Foundation in Thetford receive �436,688 in funding and Suffolk Artlink, which has a presence in Lowestoft, were handed �247,434.
Announcing the awards, Sara Betsworth, Big Lottery Fund's head of the east of England region, said: 'This investment in good causes across the region will make a real difference in helping people to take steps towards fulfilling their potential and improving their lives.
'I am delighted that BIG can support such a wide range of worthwhile projects that will reach people from all walks of life.'
Anyone wanting to find out more about Reaching Communities or how to apply can visit www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/prog_reaching_communities
Have you been awarded a special grant? Contact reporter David Freezer on 01603 772418 or email firstname.lastname@example.org