Last call for Millennium Awards applications - Your chance to learn new skills and help make London healthy

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More than 60 awards of £2,000 each are still available from The King's Fund for schemes that will help improve the health of Londoners – but the closing date is fast approaching. Applications for awards need to be received by 24 March 2003.

All you need is a good idea for how you can make a difference to the health of people in your community; be over 16 (the oldest Award winner is 96) and live or work in the capital. Projects need to be new and not-for-profit. Applications are welcome from individuals and/or organisations and grants last for a year.

The King's Fund Millennium Awards scheme is funded by the Millennium Commission and run by the health charity for London The King's Fund is for people living or working in Greater London.

As well as the cash grant, people on The King's Fund Millennium Awards scheme join a leadership skills programme at The King's Fund that for many is a bridge to greater confidence, new skills and employment. Over 22,000 people have taken part in the £200 million Millennium Commission Schemes run by not for profit organisations nation-wide, and 30 percent of people who won awards say the Millennium Award helped them get a job.

Dervise Salih joined The King's Fund Millennium Awards scheme at the end of last year. She runs free belly dancing and exercise classes for Turkish, Kurdish and Turkish Cypriot women in Islington, improving fitness levels and confidence at the same time as tackling social exclusion.

David Hogarth and Elizabeth Travis run Check 'n Chat, a telephone service in Westminster which regularly checks on over 50 elderly people, many of them housebound, and arranges phone chats for them. Duncan Wilbur provides window boxes for people to grow fruit, vegetables and herbs in Islington. The West London Kidney Patients Support Group provides a one-stop shop with advice, support and a buddy system for over 500 dialysis patients from Charing Cross Hospital and their carers.

'The people who receive these grants play a vital role in the health of their communities,' says Kate Higginson, Millennium Awards Manager at The King's Fund.

'In many cases, award-winning schemes are linked to voluntary and statutory health providers and cater for groups who might otherwise be neglected.

'We encourage people to get in touch with us about joining the last round so that they can benefit from this scheme and play their part in improving community health in London.'

Notes to editors

For more information on the scheme and to set up an interview with Kate Higginson and/or an Award winner in your area please contact: Daniel Reynolds on 0207 307 2581, 07831 554927 or or Kate Higginson on 0207 307 2436 or For an application pack, please call the dedicated voicemail service on 0207 307 2821.