A COMMUNITY project set up to help vulnerable people in Carlisle have expressed their joy at being awarded £63,000 in funding.

The Better Together group received a cheque from the National Lottery to continue and expand their activities for those living in and around the city yesterday.

A special party was held at Harraby Community Centre on Edgehill Road to mark the windfall - which will enable the group to run for another two years.

It comes months after it was set up last year by The Laurie Brewis Trust, who offer a range of services to the community at their Heathlands centre on the outskirts of Carlisle and also at Harraby Community Centre.

The project is designed to be inclusive and provide opportunities for all in society including people with difficulties and disabilities to meet, gain confidence learn new skills, make friends and have fun.

A delighted Tony Parrini MBE, chair of the Laurie Brewis Trust told the News & Star: “I’m very thankful for the support of the National Lottery, it ensures the future of this valuable community project.

“There is no doubt that the interactive engagement of people living with a variety of difficulties will result in benefits for them all.

The money will be used to support projects for people in the area with special needs, mental health issues, and help the elderly.

Bill Parkin, one of the managers at The Laurie Brewis Trust, added: “I’m very pleased that we have received money from the National Lottery, which will help us expand what we do.

“The money will enable us to run more programmes for a variety of people in Carlisle and Brampton.

“Currently we have a number of activities that run on Friday mornings in Harraby, ranging from dance to textiles.”

A bid to the National Lottery was submitted about six months ago.

Since the project got underway, it has been hailed a success after helping attendees gain confidence and make new friendships.

The group say it has also led to a reduction in demand on NHS services.