One hundred young boys and girls from disadvantaged backgrounds in Bolton will have the chance to get the help and support they need, thanks to a grant of £40,000 from East Lancashire Freemasons to the Bolton Lads & Girls Club (BLGC).

The grant will fund the BLGC mentoring project, which aims to give children and young people suffering from poor mental health and difficult home lives, a stable, positive and caring Volunteer Mentor from the local community to help guide them through tough times and improve their futures.

The young people involved have often experienced highly stressful and traumatic situations in their home lives, which has had a profoundly negative impact on their emotional wellbeing. As a consequence, they tend to feel very little or no self-confidence and very low self-esteem. They often struggle to cope with a range of complex emotions due to their lived experiences. This can manifest in behavioural problems such as anti-social behaviour, violence or withdrawal, which in turn negatively impacts their wellbeing, education and relationships.

The BLGC Chief Executive, Karen Edwards, has been honoured with an OBE for her work on the Mentoring Project.

The grant from East Lancashire Freemasons comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation, which is funded by Freemasons, their families and friends, from across England and Wales.

Karen Edwards, CEO from Bolton Lads & Girls Club said:
“We’re very grateful to East Lancashire Freemasons for their generous grant. The mentoring project they are funding will help a hundred young people from disadvantaged backgrounds in Bolton get the stability and confidence they need to turn their lives around.”

Bolton Lads & Girls Club has been working in Bolton for 130 years, providing young people with a safe haven to spend their free time. Based in Bolton’s town centre, they are open seven days a week, 51 weeks a year, and welcome all young people aged between three and 25 years old.

BLGC is, however, far more than just a youth club. They also offer a range of targeted and universal provisions including sports, NCS, arts, targeted youth support, employability, mental health, befriending services, young carers support, emotional health & wellbeing, support for refugees and asylum seekers and community outreach work.

Steve Clark, Provincial Charity Steward from East Lancashire Freemasons said:
“I’m very glad we’ve been able to help Bolton Lads & Girls Club with their hugely important mentoring programme. This is a vital investment in the future of young people in Bolton and everyone will benefit, not least the young people themselves.”