Befriending projects share £3.5m of lotto cash

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The money will go to 29 organisations tackling loneliness across Scotland. 

27th February 2020 by Gavin Stuart 0 Comments

Almost 30 organisations tackling loneliness and isolation in Scotland will share a £3.5 million National Lottery cash pot, it has been announced.

The money, from the lottery’s Community Fund, will go to 29 organisations for projects that improve health and wellbeing in communities around the country.

These include Volunteering Hebrides, who have been awarded £330,000 to expand their befriending programme on Lewis and Harris.

Tina Macleod, service manager, said loneliness and social isolation can have “devastating” effects on the lives of people in remote communities.

“Rural living brings its own challenges and there are a large number of people here who feel so very alone,” she added.

“Often described as a lifeline, our service offers them regular contact with their own carefully matched volunteer befriender as well as the chance to meet others at our group events. We greatly appreciate the vision that The National Lottery Community Fund shares with us and we look forward to working together to make meaningful and lasting impact in our community.”

Also benefitting from the funding is the South Ayrshire Befriending Project, which receives £66,856 to deliver a range of activities for young people aged between eight and 18 across the region over the next three years.

Fiona Mackenzie, senior project coordinator and funding officer, said: “We are absolutely delighted to receive this award from The National Lottery. The young people we support are living in very difficult circumstances and experience loneliness and social isolation as a result.

“Volunteer befrienders help by giving their time, a couple of hours a fortnight, to spend building a supportive relationship and our service ensures these young people are included in social opportunities that are crucial to their wellbeing, mental health and development.”

Neil Ritch, National Lottery Community Fund Scotland director, said: “All of these projects are fantastic illustrations of National Lottery money reaching into communities and changing lives. 

“We can all experience feelings of isolation or loneliness no matter our background, so it’s fitting that National Lottery funding is there to benefit everyone. Giving a few hours of your time to engage with someone can make an immeasurable difference to them and we are proud to support these important befriending projects.”