Gentoo's £470,000 Lottery win to help city's most vulnerable

Some of the most vulnerable people in Sunderland are set to benefit from a £470,000 Lottery boost for Gentoo.
Michelle MeldrumMichelle Meldrum
Michelle Meldrum

The firm has secured more than £470,000 from the Big Lottery Fund for its Safety, Support and Crisis Team, which works directly with its most vulnerable customers including victims and perpetrators of domestic abuse, anti-social behaviour and those living with mental health, drug and alcohol issues.

Michelle Meldrum, managing director of Gentoo Operations, said: “The work of our Safety, Support and Crisis team with vulnerable people in the city is vital.

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“Gentoo is committed to making a positive impact on people’s lives and the funding from the Big Lottery Fund will allow us to expand our service within the community.

“This includes employing two new Positive Engagement Officers and two new Victim Support Officers to identify those with support needs and develop support plans involving key partners.

“We are delighted the Big Lottery Fund has recognised the importance and value of this service in the city.”

Individuals identified by the service are allocated a key worker and provided with intensive support and access to other specialist agencies Sunderland has almost twice the national rate of depression in adults and is among the worst areas of the country for hospital admissions relating to alcohol misuse and self-harm.

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Each year around 6,000 cases of domestic violence are reported across the city each year but it is estimated between 11,600 and 15,600 people experience it.

The addition of the Big Lottery funding to Gentoo’s current service means 655 vulnerable people will benefit from the service over the next three years, including non-customers, and waiting times will be cut.

Lyn Cole, England Grant Making Director for the Big Lottery Fund, said: “Without the right tailored support, people experiencing several complex problems like mental ill health, substance misuse and offending can fall into a downward spiral.

“This can cause more damage to themselves and to those closest to them. By providing support that focuses on their strengths, builds their self-confidence and the skills they have, they will be steered onto a more stable path towards a brighter future.”