Bedford charity celebrates £95,000 National Lottery funding

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Gig Buddies!

A Bedford charity is celebrating after being awarded over £95,000 from The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK.

Gig Buddies is a project supporting adults with learning disabilities and/or autism to attend music gigs and other community events by matching them with a volunteer-based on shared interests.

Hosted by Living It Up Events, Fizz Heseltine and Claire Crawford-Smith have been putting on events in Bedford since September 2009 for the Gig Buddies group.

Fizz Heseltine, project manager of Gig Buddies said: “The impact of this grant will be huge. This funding will help us to take a big step towards achieving our vision of decreasing the social isolation and marginalisation experienced by adults with learning disabilities and autism within the local community.”

National Lottery players raise over £30 million a week for good causes across the UK. The National Lottery Community Fund distributes a share of this to projects to support people and communities.

A total of £95,983.24 was awarded to Gig Buddies and will be spread over three years.

“A world of opportunity”

It’s been a long road to achieving the funding, having started the process in 2019.

“The National Lottery team were really supportive and although things were on hold briefly during the pandemic, they really encouraged us to apply for the funding,” said Fizz.

Gig Buddies will use their funding to welcome a new full-time member of staff into their team whose role will be to run and organise the Gig Buddies socials and events, with hopes to boost their volunteer network.

“It’s opened a world of opportunities for us,” said Fizz. “And will enable us to reach even more people in Bedfordshire.”

The Gig Buddies group thanked the UK’s lottery players and said: “With the help of this grant, we envisage being able to make a big difference to people’s lives.

“We are so excited to have a new member of staff join our team and to get started on the expansion and development of the organisation.”

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