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A number of Kintyre projects tackling social issues arising from Covid-19 have been awarded funding from the CalMac Community Fund.
Groups and charities working to help people experiencing mental health issues, social isolation, loneliness and or poverty across the west coast of Scotland have successfully applied to the community fund for awards between £500 and £2,000.
One successful applicant was Kintyre Alcohol and Drug Advisory Service — which offers a range of services to support individuals and families experiencing problems associated with alcohol and drugs — for its Peer Education Project.
Referrals of young people to KADAS have increased since the pandemic began and the project will give them the skills and knowledge they need to safeguard their mental health, as well as that of their peers.
Other successful groups include Campbeltown Picture House; Argyll FM; the Isle of Gigha Heritage Trust (IGHT), for a hub to allow young people on the island to socialise; Tarbert Youth Group, for sport and health activities; Islay Link Club, for courses and training in mental wellbeing; and Jura Care Centre Group.
Jane Millar from the IGHT said: ‘We are delighted to have been awarded £2,000 from the CalMac Community Fund which will support Gigha’s younger generation to develop their community hub project.
‘The award will allow us to buy sports equipment and furnishings that will turn a currently vacant cabin into a safe space that the young community can come together in to exercise, study and socialise.
‘We hope this project, which is being led by our young people, will start to address these needs, and help make Gigha a vibrant and welcoming place for young people to live.’
Polly Mather of the Islay Link Club added: ‘Our project will help and enable individuals within the community of Islay to feel a stronger sense of inclusion, well-being, confidence and overall resilience in these difficult times. Mental health issues are on the increase and equally important are serious concerns around the negative impact of social isolation.’
Half of the latest round of awards from the CalMac Community Fund will address social isolation, a third of awards will address mental health and the remaining awards will address social isolation, poverty, or a social issue relative to the respective community.
Recent research has forecasted that for every pound spent by CalMac, communities across the network benefit from a social return of £5.14.
Previously, the CalMac Community Fund supported 76 different projects that benefited the lives of children and young people living in west coast communities. It is expected to deliver £676,391 of value over three years.
Subsequently, CalMac became the first Scottish company to be awarded a level two Social Value Quality Mark for initiatives such as the community fund.
Gordon McKillop, CalMac’s corporate social responsibility manager, said: ‘The CalMac Community Fund is much more than corporate giving.
‘The community fund was created to make a difference for our communities and customers, and we are beginning to see its impact and value.
‘The last year has been turbulent for so many and the third sector has responded magnificently across our network. There are still many challenges to come as we progress through the Covid-19 pandemic and I hope the awards we have made alleviate some of the social issues that arise consequently.’