STAFF at Area 43 are thrilled to have been awarded a People and Places, National Lottery grant of £456,157 to be spread over the next five years, enabling them to continue the work of their existing young people’s project in Cardigan.

Although operating under slightly different circumstances during the enforced social distancing measures for Covid 19, the drop-in centre, Area 43 at Pontycleifion provides a safe, meeting space where young people aged 16-25 can access advice, support, information, training and accredited learning, various engagement activities and counselling services in Cardigan.

The Young Person’s Project was originally part funded by the National Lottery Charities Board back in 1996, to serve the rural counties of Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion.

Since then, the charity has spent the past 24 years offering support by taking a holistic approach to provide a safe, fun, informative and inspiring environment for young people.

The new funding from The National Lottery Community Fund, which distributes money raised by National Lottery players for good causes and is the largest community funder in the UK, will enable Area 43’s free, daytime drop-in centre to continue providing vital support.

It is a popular destination for the young people of Cardigan and the surrounding area.

Last year, Area 43 received nearly 3,500 daily visits from more than 300 different young people. The space is safe and warm and has free internet and phone access. Young people are offered a healthy meal each day and they have access to free, unlimited tea, coffee and soft drinks.

Sally Jones, Area 43 CEO, said: “We’re delighted that The National Lottery Community Fund has recognised our work in this way. Now, thanks to National Lottery players, we will be able to continue to offer a free resource to the young people of our community.”

Area 43 offers information, support, training, creative project opportunities, provide food bank vouchers, sanitary products and condoms, they also have access to a small number of sleeping bags for those who are homeless or sofa surfing as well as access to their free counselling service.

There is a strong focus on prevention through the promotion of physical health, mental health and wellbeing, reinforcing positive patterns of behaviour through counselling, mindfulness and, where appropriate peer support.

Young people seek assistance for many different issues, such as; access to further and higher education, careers advice, citizenship, anger management and confidence building.

At Area 43, they can learn skills in arts and crafts, cooking, food hygiene, kitchen management, housekeeping, interpersonal skills, money management, budgeting and many other things, depending on each of the young people’s needs.