YOUR group could join those already benefiting from Big Lottery grants of up to £5,000.

Newport group Visions and Voices got a £1,352 grant which helped them hold an event to enable people who experience auditory hallucinations (hearing voices in their head) to socialise with other sufferers, gain support and learn coping strategies.

Maria Saleem, who helped establish the group, said: “There are quite general views about what causes people to hear voices.

There’s a link to schizophrenia and a broad range of other conditions. But there are people who hear voices who have no mental health diagnosis whatsoever.

"Other people say it’s linked to trauma, but that’s not true for everyone. It’s really confusing and there isn’t a uniform treatment which can help everyone, so that’s why support is important.”

Some £4,440 was awarded to Maindee Festival to help run a successful event in the city, and; Beaufort Theatre Youth Theatre Experience used a £4,551 grant to provide a range of creative activities for socially isolated young people across the city.

Mike Theodoulou, committee member for the Big Lottery Fund inWales, said: “Community groups in Gwent are already visiting our website to see if they are eligible. This is a unique opportunity to apply for grants which could make a difference to readers’ lives.

"I would encourage everyone to think about getting involved and apply today.

“Then it will be up to local people, through this great partnership, to decide on which community groups should get a share of this Lottery funding.”

South Wales Argus editor Gerry Keighley added: “We are delighted to team up with the Big Lottery Fund to offer the chance for our readers to benefit from Lottery good-cause funding.

“You may not have scooped up a multi-million-pound jackpot following the National Lottery draw, but it’s good to know that local community groups and local people are already benefiting from good-cause cash and can again through this competition.”

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