Big Lottery grant of £150,000 helps mission to link generations

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GRANDPARENTS in Sheffield who look after their grandchildren are to benefit from new family learning activities after a grant of £150,000 from the Big Lottery fund.

The City Council’s Family Learning team has secured the money for the next three years from the Lottery’s Reaching Communities Fund to improve the life chances of children and families across the city.

It will be used to fund the Generation Link project, which will start in 2012 to support grandparents by offering activities such as family memory boxes, health and exercise, food growing and storytelling.

Coun Jackie Drayton, council member for Children, Young People and Families, said: “All too often the grandparents’ role in helping to look after their grandchildren gets overlooked, but it is a vital role and one which can help boost children’s ability to learn as well.

“Without these unsung heroes of childcare many families would not be able to afford to go out to work, especially with the economic climate as it is.

“Childcare is expensive so having a grandparent who is willing to help can really be a godsend.

“And as a parent myself I know exactly what hard work it is to be there day-in, day-out. The grand-parenting bit can be more fun, but still hard work, especially if you are working as carers full-time.

“But what is really important is the role grandparents have to play in their grandchildren’s lives.

“Mixing the generations like this can only serve to enhance children’s lives and I am glad to see this being recognised here in this Big Lottery award. Anything which seeks to boost this special relationship can only be a good thing.”

Generation Link, which will also allow grandparents to meet and support each other, will take place in the north-east, east and central community assembly areas of Sheffield.

It is estimated that there are over 200,000 grandparents in the UK who care for their grandchildren on a full-time basis and many more who care on an informal basis.

Next year’s project follows on from another Big Lottery scheme in Sheffield which has provided family activity workshops for 300 families over the last three years and an earlier project to buy computers and internet access for 240 families.

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