A PROJECT which has helped change the lives of disabled, disadvantaged and elderly people in Bridlington has been “handed a lifeline” in the form of lottery funding.
Priory Enterprises, on Hilderthorpe Road in Bridlington, will receive £239,609 from the national Big Lottery Fund to continue its creative community project in the town - which helps its users build confidence and skills through art projects - for the next three years.
Sharron Morris, project manager at Priory Enterprises, said: “This is a lifeline, it means that we can continue to deliver and expand our work and reach a lot more people in the town.
“Without the funding we would not have lasted for another six months, but now we can continue to help people in the town who are phsically disabled or have a learning disability, the elderly, and those young people between 16 and 25 that have slipped through the net and need the right help to get back into education or employment.”
Since opening 18 months ago, Priory Enterprises has helped nearly 100 people in the town by delivering art classes with the aim of overcoming social exclusion and discrimination, developing skills and broadening experience of the students.
Sharron continues: “We do sometimes get forgotten in Bridlington, we are a seen as a deprived area but the idea behind this funding is that it has come to Bridlington, so it will stay here.
“It has been difficult to plan projects long term until we were secured with funding, but we can call upon around 75 local tutors and volunteers who can come in and deliver classes. We want to reach more people.
“It is unique, our classes are never the same, we offer those with disadvantages exactly the same opportunity as anyone else who has an interest in the arts. It breaks down barriers and makes people communicate.”
Priory Enterprises also acts as a social network for people who may have become isolated due to their circumstances.
“With Mencap and Mind losing funding in the town, we are trying to fill the gap and help as many people as we can,” said Priory Enterprises Chairman Dave Grange.
“Our students have come on leaps and bounds in the classes. Some people who were very shy and may have only spoken through a carer at first have grown in confidence and are now part of a community.
“We also have carers who come in with their charges and enjoy the classes, but for some having the facilities here to leave their charges to take part in a class gives them some invaluable respite time to go and do other things.
“We offer IT training for carers here as well. There was one lady who we’ve shown how to use internet shopping so she is no longer cut off when she can’t get out of the house.”
The social enterprise has been helped by local businesses and community groups with funding in the past, including Boyes, West BS, the Town Council and the Round Table, but with the award of the funding they can now look forward to reaching even more people.
Students have already taken part in a wide range of art activities with local artists such as Katherine McDermid and Corinne Young, decorated plant pots to donate to the community, and have learnt about digital photography and even produced a short film about themselves.
As part of their next project Priory Enterprises are looking for someone locally to give over a spare wall for the art students to paint a butterfly tree mural.
Dave said: “That is another project we are looking forward to. It has to be an interior wall and we are hoping that we can team up with a local care home, school or youth club, somewhere where the mural will be seen by a lot of people.
“One of our tutors will paint a tree and then the students, as well as those who will be living with the wall, will make butterflies to stick on to it with their names or special messages written on.”