Young People To Benefit From Lottery Funding At The Usual Place

The Usual Place in Dumfries will benefit from a share of over £15 million of National Lottery funding which will help to keep vital local services running, as 384 community projects this week (WEDNESDAY 27 MARCH) share in grants from The National Lottery Community Fund.

The funding, made possible by National Lottery players, means that many community and voluntary sector groups will be able to continue their support to individuals, families and communities across Scotland.

The award to The Usual Place of £199,852 over 3 years will allow The Usual Place in Dumfries to continue to run their training cafe for young people with additional support needs by covering the salaries of four existing full time mentors, as well as contributing towards management, admin and overheads costs for the next three years.

Also, by raising the profile and promoting the potential of disabled young people in training and employability, the Usual Place can continue its aim to support strategic ambitions at national level and challenge perceptions surrounding disability and associated expectations within the community. Young people at The Usual Place are individually enabled by mentors in developing skills and qualifications in professional cookery, retail and customer service.

More than 1,200 young people aged 11–26 years have participated in 4 work experience programmes since The Usual Place first opened in 2015, many going on to achieve externally assessed vocational qualifications, move into employment and on to set up their own businesses.

Heather Hall, Chief Executive at The Usual Place said: “I can’t overstate how important this award is to enabling us to continue our work with the amazing young people who lead and benefit from training at The Usual Place. Mentors are incredibly important in delivery a high level of quality in our training and our Mentors are highly skilled and devoted people. To know that four full time roles are secured for the next three years allows us to take a longer term view in developing our mentoring with so much more confidence.
“This funding has been awarded for our project: Building Hope and Connections for Young People Living With A Learning Disability. It will enable us to continue delivering our strength-based personal development and skills programmes for young people with learning disabilities, autism spectrum disorders and additional support needs aged 14-26.
“Our busy 100-seater cafe and wider work connects so many parts of the community and generates its own income from serving around 3,000 customers every month as well as from external catering, hiring meeting rooms, and events. All money made in the café and through events and room and space rental is used to cover business costs in support of our aims. Despite this, funding is a huge jigsaw puzzle and we are so grateful to The National Lottery Community Fund for recognising the value of investing in the futures of disabled young people – funding is vital in making sure we can continue to do so and goes a long way towards filling the large gap in the expenses required to run a place like this.
“There are many strands to our work, but at its core we bring together mentors and young people to run a real life business, co-produce excellent food and customer service, whilst improving the confidence, self-worth, social connectedness, life skills, problem solving and resilience of young people so they can use their existing and new skills and make a real contribution to their community.
Announcing the funding, Kate Still, Scotland Chair, The National Lottery Community Fund said: “This multi million pound investment of National Lottery funding will improve the lives of thousands of Scots whilst keeping vital community services open and supporting those who are facing tough choices and challenges in their daily lives.
“As The National Lottery prepares to mark its 30th birthday later this year, today’s investment is a timely reminder of the difference that National Lottery players continue to make to communities across the country.”

The National Lottery Community Fund distributes funding on behalf of National Lottery players who raise more than £30 million each week for good causes throughout the UK.