CHARITY bosses today welcomed a major cash windfall.
If U Care Share, which aims to encourage young people to discuss their problems and concerns, was set after the death of teenager Daniel O’Hare in 2005.
The 19-year-old’s parents, Shirley and Dean Smith, of Great Lumley, near Chester-le-Street, work with schools and youth groups to tackle the problem and offer support to families devastated by a loved one’s suicide
Dean, chairman of the charity, said the £411,854 funding from the Big Lottery Fund (BLF) would make a “massive difference” to the group.
He said: “Since we received news of our grant I have been completely overwhelmed. This support from the BLF is vital to a charity of our size and will allow us to continue and expand our work over the next five years and beyond.
“This will now allow us to expand our work around our three main objectives of prevention, intervention and support of those affected by suicide.
“This funding will make a huge difference to a large amount of people in our immediate and surrounding areas.
“We will continue our work within schools and football clubs, and we’ve worked with more than 3,000 young people this year.
“With the funding from BLF, we anticipate this figure to be closer to 4,000 per year.
“It will also allow us to work with young people on a closer one-to-one basis at a time of need while also delivering training to those people working with young people to identify the signs of those at risk.
“We would like to say a huge thank you to all who play the National Lottery as without their participation we would not have received this funding.”
In recent years, If U Care Share has also been supported by football ace Micah Richards.
The Manchester City and England defender, who lost a childhood friend to suicide, launched his MR2 clothing range in 2010 in aid of the charity.
James Turner, BLF Head of North East region, said: “National Lottery funding doesn’t just help large organisations but makes a huge difference to projects run by a handful of people.
“Every week National Lottery players raise over £30million to help change people’s lives.”
For more information about the charity, visit www.ifucareshare.co.uk