The Garage in Norwich and Travelling Light Theatre Company are among those to receive a grant from the one-off £40m fund.

Photo of child shouting
A £282k award to Travelling Light Youth Theatre will support free drama activity

Arts organisations are among 86 youth organisations set to share £40m over three years from a one-off fund aimed at boosting the skills and life chances of young people living in disadvantaged areas.

As well as arts organisations, the awardees include youth clubs, counselling services, YMCAs, Scout groups, a boat club and the West Ham United Foundation.

£20m of the cash is pledged by the Big Lottery Fund, with this being matched by the DCMS.

It is set to benefit 300,000 young people in six areas of England: West Midlands Urban; London East; Tees Valley and Sunderland; Bristol and Somerset; Eastern Counties; and Liverpool City. The projects being supported aim to give them opportunities to get involved in their communities, contribute to their personal development and gain the skills and confidence they need to find work.

The projects include creating new youth clubs in rural areas, expanding sports projects to encourage young people to get active, and increasing services providing support and guidance to young people.

The Garage Trust and Travelling Light Theatre Company are among those to receive funds.

The Garage, in Norwich, will be using its £579k grant to boost pastoral care and support; fill gaps in progression routes for young people; invest in workforce development and organisational resilience; and develop a dedicated music rehearsal space.

The £182k awarded to Bristol-based Travelling Light Youth Theatre will support free drama activity for young people from all backgrounds and, in partnership with the West of England Centre for Inclusive Living, establish a theatre company for young adults with disabilities, offering career paths into the creative arts.

Participation Director Georgina Densley described Bristol as “a city divided by the haves and the have-nots”. She said Lawrence Hill, the ward in which Travelling Light is based, is one of the most deprived in the UK, where 50% of children live in poverty. “Young people in poverty need support in a number of ways, they also need the freedom to play, to create, explore their interests, understand the world around them and grow their potential just like every child,” she said.

The charity think tank New Philanthropy Capital and the Centre for Youth Impact will work with all 86 organisations to evaluate the impact of their projects.

Dawn Austwick, Chief Executive of the Big Lottery Fund said: “Money raised by National Lottery players creates opportunities for young people to build on their talents and strengths and the Youth Investment Fund is an important part of the jigsaw for the youth sector.”

Liz Hill