Votes decide community’s share of health and wellbeing funds

Cast your votes now, an audience decided where health and wellbeing funds should be spent locally.

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Seven community groups have been vying for a share of £5,000 health and well-being funds.

The winners were voted for at a special presentation night at Oban’s Rockfield Centre on Monday.

Each group had to tout for votes from the community audience, explaining what they would do with the Oban, Lorn and Inner Isles Health and Well-being Network money to get more people active and improve lives.

Votes were cast using special electronic keypads and the overall winner being awarded the full £2,000 they requested was Martyn’s Monday Club, a peer-to-peer suicide and mental health support group that meets at Hope Kitchen.

The runner up was Oban Toy Cupboard, based at Glencruitten Church Hall, wanting £1,130 to buy more toys, especially sensory toys and equipment. It works like a lending library, is registered as a Scottish charity and started in 1990 with a mission to help more families play.

The remaining money meant the other five groups got £374 each to put toward their projects.

The Youth Cafe had applied for £1,900 to help feed and educate the young people who come through its doors about healthy eating and cooking.

Soroba Young Family Group asked for funds to help families access more activities in the community. The scheme has welcomed 112 under three-year-olds through its doors since August. As well as its birth to three unit, it runs a respite service and stay and play sessions.

Lorn Ladies Shinty Club wanted £2,000 to buy new helmets and shin guards and to hire facilities. The club, which is for all ages, had to stop training from October to January this year because of the weather. Previously they were able to train at the old high school but the use of shinty sticks are not allowed inside the new building.

Lochnell Football Club is also up against the weather and wanted help to buy waterproof jackets for its players so they can keep dry, warm and are easily identifiable on a floodlit pitch in winter. More floodlights for the practice ground in North Connel are also needed. When the club started up four years ago it had 25 members. It now has 120 who come from as far away as Appin and Dalmally.

Oban Rowing Club had also hoped to get £2,000 to buy a combined launch trolley and boat trailer. Currently the 22ft community-asset boat has to be carried down the long and very slippery slipway that the club uses near Oban Sailing Club. Without a trailer, it also means the club whose oldest member is 85, cannot join in events away from home.

Network chairperson Eleanor Mackinnon said the voting event, which doubled up a a networking occasion, was part of a pilot project to let the community decide where funding went.