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Big Lottery Fund: £65m to sustain and transform free advice for better future

Vital frontline advice services across England will receive a multi-million pound support package as the Big Lottery Fund (BIG) today launches the Advice Services Transition Fund. The Cabinet Office is supporting BIG’s programme by contributing half of the funding.

This programme builds on BIG’s historic role in funding the advice sector and comes as a direct and timely response to the challenging circumstances advice providers and those dependent on their services are facing. Today’s announcement helps address that immediate need but will also help strengthen those organisations for the demands that lay ahead.

Dharmendra Kanani, Big Lottery Fund Director for England said:

“Getting the right advice at the right time can be a life line for people and communities most in need. Current services are struggling to keep up with increasing demand and the greater complexity in the types of problems people are facing. We are responding at this time of need demonstrating the value that BIG can bring by offering funding to help local partnerships of advice providers to come together to develop new ways of working fit for the 21st century. Times are tough for advice providers and for people at the thin end of the wedge. This is a chance to invest in much needed transformation of services so that they can adapt, respond to need and survive.”

Nick Hurd, Minister for Civil Society said:

“This is a serious investment from the Government and the Big Lottery Fund to make sure that the most vulnerable in society are protected and the advice services sector is supported.

“This £65m fund will mean that not-for-profit advice organisations can develop new ways of working. It will also help them to work in partnership with other organisations in their area so they can share expertise and provide a better service for the vulnerable people they help.”

The new programme will invite applications from partnerships of local not-for-profit advice providers who can come together and demonstrate new ways of working that will improve local services. Partnerships should reflect the needs of the people and communities in their local areas and include providers of welfare benefits, debt, housing and employment advice.
                                                                                   
Partnerships will need to show that they have plans in place to improve efficiency, resilience and quality of service over the long term. Grants of between £50,000 and £350,000 will be available to be spent over two years.

The Advice Services Transition Fund hopes to be able to fund around 300 projects across England.

The Government is today publishing a review on the not-for-profit social welfare advice sector in England. Please see link: http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/news/65-million-free-advice-services-help-vulnerable

The deadline for application submission will be 12 noon on 28th January 2013.

Full eligibility criteria and application packs are available to download from the Big Lottery Fund website from 10-30 am Friday 26th October: Please see link: http://www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/prog_advice_services_transition_fund.htm

Further Information
Big Lottery Fund Press Office: 020 7211 1888   
Out of hours contact: 07867 500 572
Public Enquiries Line: 08454 102030                         
Textphone:  0845 6021 659
Full details of the Big Lottery Fund programmes and grant awards are available on the website: www.biglotteryfund.org.uk

Notes to Editors
• The Big Lottery Fund (BIG), the largest distributor of National Lottery good cause funding, is responsible for giving out 40% of the money raised for good causes by the National Lottery.
• BIG is committed to bringing real improvements to communities and the lives of people most in need and has been rolling out grants to health, education, environment and charitable causes across the UK. Since June 2004 BIG has awarded over £4.4bn.
• The Fund was formally established by Parliament on 1 December 2006.
• Since the National Lottery began in 1994, 28p from every pound spent by the public has gone to good causes. As a result, over £28 billion has now been raised and more than 370,000 grants awarded across arts, sport, heritage, charities, health, education and the environment.
• The Cabinet Office: In Budget 2012 The Government announced that it would make £20 million available to the not-for-profit advice sector in 2013–14, and again in 2014–15 to support the sector as it adapts to changes in the way that it is funded.  The Cabinet Office is contributing the England portion of that funding (£16.8m in each year) to the Advice Services Transition Fund.
• The Cabinet Office has previously worked with BIG to deliver the Advice Services Fund, a £16.8m programme that provided immediate support for local advice organisations facing significant cuts in their funding.

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