COUNCILS and youth groups across England are being urged to follow a Blackburn project's example and bid for a share of a £368 million government fund to boost provision.

The Youth Investment Fund, designed to create, improve and expand local youth services, has opened for submissions from 45 local authorities and more than 600 wards in some of the most deprived areas in England.

It will provide funding to build or refurbish up to 300 youth facilities over the next three years.

This is the second round of grants from the fund which aims to improve youth services in under-served areas.

Earlier this year 418 projects had £12 million fast-tracked to them to pay for small-scale capital improvements such as providing new laptops to youth groups, small redevelopments of buildings, and improving transport.

The government highlights the £32,155 grant to Blackburn with Darwen borough's IMO (Inspire, Motivate, Overcome) Charity as an example of schemes which could be eligible.

The charity aims to help local young people and their families to combat disadvantage and overcome challenges.

The grant paid for equipment and furnishings for a new IMO Youth Hub to provide programmes, activities and a safe environment for young people who struggle at school with their mental health and who are in poverty.

Minister for civil society and youth Nigel Huddleston said: “We are committed to ensuring that no young person is left out of reach or left behind, and have put it at the heart of our drive to level up this country.”

Other East Lancashire organisations which got cash in the first round of grants included Blackburn with Darwen's Z's Defence Academy; Lancashire School Sailing Association, Youth Action and Blackburn Youth Zone.

Also successful were Burnley's Participation Works NW; Burnley Enterprise of Sport and Training CIC; Burnley Pendle and Rossendale Council for Voluntary Service; and Burnley Boys and Girls Club.

Grants also went to Hyndburn's Accrington and District Unit No. 5 of the Sea Cadet Corps TS Nubian; Maundy Relief; The Emily Davison Centre; HARV Outreach Team and Carers Link Lancashire,

Pendle borough's Positive Action in the Community and Rio Ferdinand Foundation also won grants along with Vision Rossendale

Blackburn with Darwen Council got £39,003 for projectors, IT/electronics, equipment and alterations for a wellbeing room in Blackburn.