ROSE Hill is celebrating as it reaches the halfway point of its Lottery-funded community programme.

The area was given £430,000 – £370,000 of that from the Big Lottery Fund and the rest from GreenSquare housing group – in December 2011 for a five-year project.

Four strands make up the scheme, including volunteering and training – where residents are helped to improve their career prospects.

The health and wellbeing strand makes sure that people’s physical and mental health are stable.

Raising the profile of Rose Hill is another – to encourage people to feel positive about the area.

The fourth strand is community cohesion, to bring different groups of people together.

Community worker Fran Gardner, who is running the scheme on behalf of the Lottery, said: “Lottery money changes lives and the work we have done here has changed lives completely and utterly.

“People who would normally cross the street so that they wouldn’t pass each other on the pavement will now stop and talk.

“I’m not saying the job is done – there’s still lots to do – but there have been enormous changes and there’s massive community spirit.” She added: “For the next two years we are going to respond more and more to what people want and need in terms of volunteering and training.”

One of the volunteers is mum-of-three Tahira Naseem, 39, who lives on the estate and runs the area’s Asian women’s group.

She said: “With the funding I can do different things for my ladies, anything they want to learn.

“We do cooking sessions, knitting sessions, glass painting, whatever. We celebrate different cultural holidays, we try and make it for everybody.”

Stephanie Ballard also volunteers in the area. She said: “Before this project my children would never have the ability to do the activities they run, there was nothing in Rose Hill.

“There’s just so much that the project has done for Rose Hill. We have got a community again.”

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