Big Lottery Fund awards millions to Scottish communities

Web befriending

Fun with the parachute in a physical activity session at Voluntary Action Orkney's befriending project

Eight community projects share £3.8 million

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24th July 2015 by Paul Cardwell 0 Comments

Eight community-led projects from across Scotland are sharing grants worth £3.8 million from the Big Lottery Fund.

Three Glasgow organisations took the lion's share with a total of £1.6m in grants from the Investing in Communities programme. However, communities outside the country’s largest city have not been forgotten.

People over the age of 60 in Orkney and Caithness will be able to make new friendships and connections within their communities as Voluntary Action Orkney and Caithness Voluntary Group received five-year grants of £502,273 and £283,119 to expand their existing befriending projects.

Both projects will include one-to-one befriending in a person’s home and in the community and will also provide practical support with shopping, attending a GP appointment, preparing and planning meals, paying bills and collecting prescriptions.

Gail Anderson, chief executive, Voluntary Action Orkney, said: “Befriending delivers essential services to older people through companionship, practical support and opportunities to engage in a range of intergenerational and community activities.

The award will allow us to meet current and future demand and reduce the number of older people whose lives are adversely affected by loneliness and social isolation

“The award will allow us to meet current and future demand and reduce the number of older people whose lives are adversely affected by loneliness and social isolation.”

Angie House, befriending co-ordinator at Caithness Voluntary Group, added: “This will mean we can develop our service and provide good-quality support to both the befriendee also the befriender.

“It truly is an experience that both people benefit from and makes a huge difference to their lives.”

In the east of the country, a training and employment initiative for deaf unemployed adults received a grant of £619,275. 

Deaf Action will offer support to people in Edinburgh, Fife, Dundee and Perth and Kinross on a range of topics including interview techniques, CV skills, mock interviews and links to potential employers.

Chief Executive Aidan McCorry said: “We know that many deaf people are keen to find work but struggle to engage effectively with mainstream training providers because the support offered generally lacks an awareness of their specific needs. 

“Deaf Action’s Employability Service has been designed with these needs in mind and will be delivered by deaf professionals who themselves have overcome the real and perceived barriers that exist for deaf people when seeking employment.”

In the Lanarkshires a new drop-in centre supporting people living with long-term illness predominantly cancer, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s and motor neurone disease is to open in Wishaw, thanks to a grant of £401,662.

Due to an increase in demand, The Haven Centre, based in Blantyre, will now be able to expand its services to many more people, their carers and families as it prepares to open its new premises in the grounds of Wishaw General Hospital.

Chair of The Haven board Dr Rosalie Dunn MBE said: “This exciting new development will enable The Haven to reach out to communities across North and South Lanarkshire and deliver the award winning proven Haven model of care to more people affected by long term conditions.

“The centre provides much needed emotional support to carers and their loved ones so that they are more able to cope with illness and caring responsibilities.”

Borders’ charity the Brothers of Charity Services (Scotland) received £412,120.

Based in Galashiels, the charity provides work and training opportunities to help people with learning disabilities from its two social enterprises – an organic bakery and a gardening and woodwork business.

Thanks to its award the charity will be able to provide more places on its programme offering on the job experience while creating an individual flexible work plan unique to each person.

Chief executive Charmian Ledsham said: “The funding will make a substantial contribution to helping people with learning disabilities in the Borders access the training and experience they need to achieve their aspirations for employment.”