MEMBERS of a Wigan charity are celebrating hitting the lottery jackpot.
Wigan and Leigh People First, based in Bishopgate in the town centre, has been awarded a massive £287,000 for its Speak Up Speak Out project.
The money has come, appropriately, from the Big Lottery Fund.
Delighted charity co-ordinator Julie Davies said: “It is absolutely fantastic news.
“We were probably going to be under risk of closing later in the year if we hadn’t got it. Now it means we can continue our good work.”
The charity aims to help people with learning disabilities, giving them a voice in the community and teaching life skills.
“The new five-year project will develop these aims by offering leadership skills training, peer support groups and transition workshops.
“We are trying to empower our members to be active citizens and take control of their lives,” added Julie.
“A lot of people with learning disabilities will have experienced some form of discrimination in their lives and it really hits their self-esteem.
“Through peer support and our classes we can build their confidence so that they can contribute in society and see employment as an option.
“It is a difficult time for all charities money-wise and we don’t get any funding from the council.
“We rely on donations and volunteers so the grant gives us a life line.”
The charity, which has been running since 2007, is now on the lookout for a new employee to work on the Speak Up Speak Out project and have a move to a new location on the horizon.
Julie said: “We will be moving to a new place in Golborne soon with larger facilities so we can expand what we have to offer.”
The Big Lottery Fund distributes money on behalf of the National Lottery to community groups and other projects which improve health, education and the environment.