A LOTTERY grant has been awarded to Blackburn with Darwen’s Nightsafe charity, which works with young people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

The charity, based in Railway Road, Blackburn has been given £306,851 from the Big Lottery fund to enable them to continue the various projects that aim to support vulnerable people.

The generous grant is almost two thirds of Nightsafe’s annual costs and has already been earmarked to maintain their day and night services and accommodation to 16 to 24-year-olds.

Nightsafe chief executive Linda Sharratt said: “It is absolutely fabulous and we are just so pleased to have been awarded it.

“This grant will be used to fund our day centre, which provides essential basic facilities such as laundry, shower, storage and a meal for young people who are homeless or vulnerably housed. It will cover nearly 80 per cent of the cost of day centre and so, basically, has secured the service for the next three years. It is wonderful.”

The day centre also engages young people in a variety of activities designed to teach them new skills and rebuild their confidence.

In addition, the funding will allow Nightsafe to fill a ‘gap’ in their service with a new mentoring scheme.

Mentors will give one-to-one support to young people who lack confidence and will be able to attend housing and other appointments with the individual to help ‘break cycle of homelessness.’ Linda said: “It can be such a knock to a young person’s confidence to find themselves faced with homelessness and appointments can often be daunting.”

In the wake of changes to the welfare system and the rising cost of living, Linda said the grant could not have come at a better time.

“Last year Nightsafe worked with over 900 young people in Blackburn with Darwen — an increase of nearly 30 per cent on the previous year. This is due, in part, to an increased number of young people being sanctioned by the benefit agency and finding it difficult to cope on reduced money.

“Many of these young people have complex problems making it difficult for them to adhere to all the requirements for job search.

“This funding is really needed to help them live more stable lifestyles and to ensure we can carry on serving these young people when they are most vulnerable.”