A CHARITY which tackles homophobia in schools and supports young gay people has been saved thanks to a Lottery cash boost.
The Sheena Amos Youth Trust, Leadmill Road, Sheffield city centre, is the only service in the city to support lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgender (LBGT) young people up to the age of 25.
The charity faced an uncertain future due to a lack of funds - but thanks to a grant of £242,666 from the Big Lottery Fund, it can continue vital projects, keep staff posts and extend its work.
Leroy Williamson, project manager, said: “We’re relieved because if we didn’t get funding the charity wouldn’t have continued, but also for the projects that are so important for young people.
“Last Friday, for example, we had 26 people turn up to one of our projects who wouldn’t otherwise have this important support.
“We’ve got young people who come to our service who, due to their sexuality, might have been bullied or self harm or have an eating disorder.
“Some of them are in crisis and it makes a difference that we are here and able to support them.”
The trust, formed in 1999, runs projects including Sheffield Fruitbowl, an under-18s LBGT support group, and Side by Side, a peer education volunteering project for teenagers aged 16 to 19.
Challenging homophobia and raising awareness in schools are some of the topics taken on by the latter scheme – which has been extended for another three years thanks to the funding boost.
In 2010–11, the trust reached more than 1,500 young people through its education scheme.
The Lottery fund’s Reaching Communities programme also gave £438,516 to the Big Ambitions CIC project in Doncaster.
It helps people with mental health problems into employment.
Jane Jefferson, project facilitator, said: “This will make a huge difference to clients’ mental health, the economy, and local communities.”
Rotherham Women’s Counselling Service received £430,820 and disability advice service DIAL Barnsley £192,558.