A COMMUNITY support scheme led by a Wyre Forest charity has scored a £250,000 grant to get off the ground.

Furniture Refurbishment, Education, Development and Support (FREDS) - a new pioneering partnership working across Worcestershire and the Black Country and led by Community Action Wyre Forest (CAWF) - has secured the funding from the Big Lottery.

The scheme also includes social firm Community Support Initiatives, social change company Regeneration Communities and Forgotten Favourites, a firm using environmentally-friendly products to recycle and reuse unwanted household furniture.

Organisers say FREDS will provide opportunities which help people to gain confidence and self-esteem, acquire practical and therapeutic skills through refurbishing household items and create the conditions for participants to flourish.

Cheif officer of CAWF Irene Walker said: "This project recognises that sometimes people need longer-term support to achieve their goals and aspirations. Our participants have said that short-term training courses only begin to scratch the surface of their needs."

The project will have two permanent bases - one in Kidderminster and one in Stourbridge - but will also provide a number of outreach sessions in community venues throughout the targeted areas.

Keith Slater, of FREDS, added: "Anyone who thinks they will benefit from this project is welcome to participate. There are a wide range of opportunities available, from shabby chic painting to starting your own business, from learning coping skills to employability skills and much more in between."

Project partner Anne Breeze said: "We are all very excited by this project and the benefits it can bring to local communities. We hope everyone will get engaged in making the project a success and that people will donate their unwanted items of wooden furniture to FREDS that, after refurbishment by participants, will then be re-donated to people in greatest need."

For more details of the project or to donate items call 01562 67008 or email projects@communityactionwf.org.uk