Local News

Funding Boost For Local Organisations Which Help People Stay Connected

Orkney’s politicians have welcomed Scottish Government funding to organisations and projects which tackle social isolation and loneliness.

Orkney Mens Shed , just one of the local organisation benefitting from the funding

Across Scotland almost a £1million will be shared to  organisations which provide warm spaces, hot meals, group activities and fuel payments to people most at risk of isolation including older people, young parents, carers and disabled people.

The Covid pandemic and the dire state of the UK economy with rising food and energy prices has highlighted the issues which many people face, unable to heat their homes and a growing feeling of desperation and hopelessness about their situation. It is seriously affecting the mental and physical health of many.

Responding to the Scottish Government funding, Orkney Constituency MSP, Liam McArthur, LibDem said:

“While loneliness can affect anyone at any time, groups such as older people, carers and those with a disability are particularly vulnerable to social isolation. Unfortunately, the pandemic has had a serious impact on confidence and mobility amongst these groups which poses very real risks to their mental and physical health.

“Community groups such as lunch clubs and men’s sheds are absolutely critical in efforts to tackling loneliness, but soaring inflation is making it increasingly difficult for their doors to be kept open as Age Scotland recently revealed. Coupled with Covid-related pressures placing increased demand on statutory services, it is clear we must do much more to protect these lifelines.

“In that context, I welcome the government’s new funding to provide warm spaces, hot meals, group activities and fuel payments to people most at risk. This much needed funding is a step in the right direction towards recognising loneliness as a key public health issue. I’m particularly pleased that several projects in Orkney are set to benefit from the new fund which will make a tangible difference on the ground.”

 In Orkney, Haey Hope Club, Flotta Day Club and the Orkney Men’s Shed are amongst the organisation which will benefit from the new funding.

Highlands and Islands MSP Emma Roddick, SNP said:

“Nowhere is it more important to tackle loneliness and isolation than where people report experiencing this most – in island and rural communities.  While we often pride ourselves for being the type of place where you look out for each other, we still know it is so easy to feel alone when you’re in a quiet area, older, disabled, or don’t speak the language of your neighbours. 

“This funding will help befriending networks like Orkney Blide and others to continue doing the amazing and vital work of supporting those who just need a bit of help to make the connections they need to share company and happiness with others. “

In 2018 the Scottish Government published A Connected Scotland: our strategy for tackling social isolation and loneliness and building stronger social connections. Since then we have seen the importance of the work in our local communities as never before. Key to this strategy is putting the funding into local hands.

A Scotland where individuals and communities are more connected, and everyone has the opportunity to develop meaningful relationships regardless of age, stage, circumstances or identity

We are a society which treats all our people with kindness, dignity and compassion

In this film from The Orkney News series ‘Orcadian Stories’, Andy Swain speaks about the importance of Orkney Men’s Shed for health and well being

Commenting on the funding, Chief Executive of Age Scotland Mark O’Donnell said:

“Older people’s groups have an incredibly important role in communities across Scotland, supporting health and wellbeing, physical activity, tackling loneliness and food insecurity. Our research has identified that around 200,000 over-65s rely on groups like this but the impact of Covid-19 and spiralling inflation has meant that these lifelines have been facing incredible pressures to keeping their doors open. We’re incredibly grateful that the Scottish Government took notice of our research and our ask of greater financial support for older people’s groups.

“The funding will help many such groups and clubs meet the rising cost of energy bills, food, transport and venues to meet, ensuring that their members can stay connected and are able to be as well as they can be.”

18 projects and organisations will receive a share of £971,019. They are:

  • Age Scotland
  • Befriending Networks
  • British Red Cross
  • Chest, Heart and Stroke Scotland
  • Glasgow Disability Allowance
  • Home-Start Scotland
  • Youthlink Scotland
  • Cosgrove Care and Jewish Care Scotland
  • Faith in Community Dundee
  • Glasgow Central Mosque Foodbank
  • Safe Families
  • Bethany Christian Trust
  • Christians Against Poverty
  • Scottish Ahlul Bayt Society
  • Sikhs in Scotland
  • Church of Scotland
  • Edinburgh City Mission
  • Glasgow City Mission

Fiona Grahame

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