TWO Blackburn with Darwen charities have won almost £500,000 from the National Lottery to help ‘forgotten adults’ find work and keep refugee families together.

The cash will go to CANWe Solutions, in Whalley Road, and the borough branch of the Church of England Children’s Society.

The first group will get £219,573 to step up its work improving the employability of “hard to reach adults”.

The children’s society has been awarded £269,434 for its work rebuilding families forced to flee conflict and persecution around the world.

The cash comes from the Big Lottery Fund, the main distributor of cash from the nation’s twice-weekly flutter.

Martin Hartley, Smith of CanWe, said: “We deal with the forgotten adults, people who find it difficult to get a job for a variety of reasons such as poor literacy and numeracy, previous drug or alcohol problems, learning difficulties or broken and troubled childhoods.

“These are individuals who find the traditional ways into work such as the Jobcentre hard to use.”

The children’s society project, based at Wesley Hall in Fielden Street, aims to support refugee families and young people who come to the area to escape war, conflict and persecution.

Kuljeet De Souza, from the society, said: “It aims to provide support and advocacy services to ensure the families settle in the borough and do not breakdown as the result of the stress of their flight and finding their feet in a new country.”

“The scheme focuses on the children’s needs so they can fulfil their potential.

“Volunteers will support the families and share skills and organise social activities including museum visits, sports sessions, craft classes, youth groups, and homework clubs.”

Paul Maher, The Children’s Society Programme Manager, Blackburn said: “Currently there are thousands of children growing up in the asylum system not receiving any help or support and this can have a detrimental effect on their health, education and development.

“Receiving this Big Lottery Fund Grant at ARCASS (Asylum and Refugee Community Advocacy and Support Service) will help us to continue our vital work supporting these very vulnerable children and their families.”