Sunderland and Durham ‘missed out’ on £25million National Lottery funding

DELIGHT .... Dawdon Youth and Community Centre, Queen Alexandra Rd have landed �88,000 worth of funding, including �78,000 from Children in Need.

DELIGHT .... Dawdon Youth and Community Centre, Queen Alexandra Rd have landed �88,000 worth of funding, including �78,000 from Children in Need.

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SUNDERLAND and County Durham have allegedly missed out on a combined £25million from the National Lottery since its inception in 1995.

The area has received much less than the national average per capita, along with other smaller industrial areas, according to the campaign group the Industrial Communities Alliance.

DELIGHT .... Dawdon Youth and Community Centre, Queen Alexandra Rd have landed �88,000 worth of funding, including �78,000 from Children in Need.

DELIGHT .... Dawdon Youth and Community Centre, Queen Alexandra Rd have landed �88,000 worth of funding, including �78,000 from Children in Need.

New data showed that an average of £391 per person has been handed out nationally through National Lottery funding,

However, in County Durham that figure drops to £348 per person.

This has left Durham underfunded to the tune of £21million, up to the end of 2011.

While Sunderland has been better off as a result of the funding, the city is also down £4million compared to the national average over the same period.

The alliance has also revealed that funding to big cities has been two-and-a-half times than to industrial areas. Newcastle has been awarded an average of £782 per person.

Such a situation is unacceptable, according to Durham county councillor Alan Napier, who says such big city projects do not help the wider region as much as advertised.

“It is a myth that prestigious facilities located in the big cities are used by people from a much wider area,” said Coun Napier, from Murton, who is also chairman of the alliance in the North East.

“Huge numbers of people, especially in the most disadvantaged areas, are rooted 
in the community that they live.

“For them, there is no benefit from a prestigious project in a city miles away and largely inaccessible.”

A spokesman for the National Lottery Good Causes, however, said the figures do not represent the full story and that funding had “changed lives in every community” in the UK.

“The way National Lottery grants are recorded means it is difficult to make accurate geographical comparisons,” he added.

“The statistics are skewed towards cities because most organisations are registered there.”

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WEARSIDE and County Durham may be poor relations as far as funding goes, but some groups are benefiting from major grants.

In Plains Farm, the A690 Youth Initiative has just received £8,382 from the Big Lottery Fund for its Buzz Box project.

The cash will go towards converting a trailer into a mobile unit with music production equipment, that will visit areas of deprivation to engage with young people, encourage them off the streets and to take part in creative activities.

RT Community Projects, in Durham, has received £9,980 to set up a support group for isolated men to reduce the number of suicides in the city.

It will offer practical activities and skills to increase their sense of purpose and improve their mental health.

An East Durham organsiation has managed to secure £88,000 in support from a number of non-lottery sources.

Dawdon Youth and Community Centre on Alexandra Road received £78,000 from the BBC’s Children In Need, £6,000 in donations from businesses and trusts and £4,000 raised through its own events.

The bumper cheque has secured the future of the centre for at least the next three years, as well as extending the potential to offer experiences such as days out to some of the area’s most vulnerable young people.

Joanne Bowen, the centre’s play development coordinator, said: “It’s so rewarding to see so many young people benefiting from these experiences.

“For a lot of these children it’s the only holiday they’ll get this year.

“The experience we can now give them are amazing and it’s improved their confidence and self-esteem no end.”