International children's charity Save the Children has received a funding boost from players of People's Postcode Lottery. Announced at People's Postcode Lottery's annual Charity Gala at Prestonfield House in Edinburgh on 24th January, the £500,000 award will support Save the Children's work with child refugees in Serbia.

Official border closures and the EU-Turkey deal in March 2016 have not stopped the flow of refugees. Instead, this has only heightened the vulnerability of those on the move, as more are smuggled or trafficked over borders. Increasingly, children are travelling through Serbia, and many are unable to leave the country to continue their journeys across Europe. Since 2015, over a million refugees have entered Serbia, which does not have the resources or services to cope. Many children are staying outdoors, especially around Bristol Park in Belgrade, and extreme winter conditions now pose an additional and urgent concern.

People's Postcode Lottery players are supporting Save the Children to provide child-friendly spaces for children in Serbia. Snow and plummeting temperatures make life on the move harder than ever for children, and more harsh winter weather is forecast for the coming weeks. As well as receiving essential food and other items, children are given a safe space to reflect on their traumatic journeys and experiences, and informed about their rights and the risks they may face. Save the Children runs centres in main transit points of Belgrade and Presevo, and has reached over 30,000 children to date. Nearly 5,000 of these children were travelling entirely unaccompanied.

Kevin Watkins, Save the Children CEO, said, "As 2017 begins, we're entering another year of a protracted and distressing refugee crisis. Across Europe and the Middle East, thousands of children are fleeing for their lives, and many are making their dangerous journeys alone and unaccompanied.

"We're delighted to be receiving this vital funding from players of People's Postcode Lottery and would like to thank them all for their generous support for children."

Clara Govier, Head of Charities at People's Postcode Lottery, said, "We are proud that our players are able to support the provision of child-friendly spaces for children in Serbia. Players have raised over £168 Million for good causes across Great Britain and internationally, and I am thrilled that players can help Save the Children with this initiative."

World-renowned choreographer and Save the Children Ambassador Arlene Phillips said, "Thank you to all People’s Postcode Lottery players for offering their generous support to Save the Children.

"Save the Children works in the most challenging circumstances to be there for children every step of the way. I’m proud to be a supporter of Save the Children and the fantastic work they do in the UK and all over the world."

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Save the Children received a £500,000 award from players of People's Postcode Lottery