People whose lives are affected by severe ME and chronic fatigue syndrome in the North East will benefit from a grant of nearly £300,000 from the Big Lottery Fund.
The £293,712 grant to ME North East comes from the largest distributor of National Lottery good cause funding.
It means the charity will be able to improve its service for people in County Durham, Darlington, Teesside, Tyne and Wear, Northumberland and North Cumbria.
ME North East, based in Chester-le-Street, aims to reduce the stress and mental health issues caused by the conditions.
People with severe MS or CFS who are housebound will receive home visits and provide access to services like home carers and mobility aid. The charity’s project will also deliver its own local self-help groups, social get-togethers, craft-making activities and volunteering to encourage social interaction and reduce isolation.
Carers of people with ME/CFS, who are often isolated due to the demands of the care, will also be supported with local activities and social gatherings.
Jennifer Elliot, ME North East, chief executive, said: “Thanks to The Big Lottery Fund this fantastic award will provide a life-line of support to this neglected and disadvantaged group of people with ME/CFS.
“There are over 12,000 people with ME in the North East, 25 per cent of whom are severely affected at any one time. We will help them cope with their illness, re-engage with society, make friends and become active in their community.
“We will help access welfare benefit entitlements to avoid financial poverty and provide an understanding and listening ear. There is no-where else for these people to turn, ME North East provides the means to get their lives back on track.”
Big Lottery Fund spokesperson Alison Rowe said: “Our grant to ME North East will go a long way to help the thousands of people whose lives are impacted by chronic fatigue and those who care for them.
“Our Reaching Communities programme helps people and communities most in need so we are also pleased to award funding to the Pennywell Youth Project to provide more positive activities for young people.”
The Big Lottery Fund, the largest distributor of National Lottery good cause funding, is responsible for giving out 40 per cent of the money raised for good causes by the National Lottery.
Since its inception in 2004, the Big Lottery Fund has awarded close to £6 billion.