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Young people’s charity Western Isles Foyer is celebrating this week after receiving a £50,000 boost from an emergency fund set up by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and SSEN.
The fund will support community organisations which provide essential services impacted by loss of wind farm generated income.
Earlier this month, the Foyer announced its intention to shut down but following a deluge of public support and offers of help, administrators decided to try and raise funds to to compensate for the loss of the Point and Sandwick Trust (PST) grant income which was due to be received this financial year.
Rebecca Mahony, Western Isles Foyer project leader, said: ‘We would like to express our thanks to everyone at the Comhairle and SSEN who have been working so hard to establish this emergency fund to help out the affected organisations.’
Comhairle Leader Roddie Mackay said the comhairle was aware of the important role the Foyer provides to the community and was pleased to have been able to support it.
‘We are targeting the fund at the most vulnerable groups in the community and the priority will be to support these groups. I am very pleased with the quick turnaround from establishing the fund on Monday November 16 to paying out the first grant last Thursday, November 19.’
A crowdfunding appeal launched by the charity last week had reached £5,650 by Friday and Rebecca thanked members of the community who have publicly and privately supported them, saying she and the Foyer team had been ‘overwhelmed’ by the show of support.
‘It goes to show community spirit is alive and well, even during the season of hardship for everyone during Covid-19. Special thanks go to Colin S Macleod, community champion and all round good guy for setting the crowdfunding appeal up on behalf of Foyer.
‘We would like to use the money raised via the Just Giving appeal to help young people supported by Foyer with the cost of setting up home. This will be specifically for those young people unable to access any other funds when they are allocated unfurnished tenancies.’
One of the young people previously supported by Foyer responded to the news by saying: ‘It is amazing news Foyer has been saved.
‘It is fantastic Foyer is going to be able to carry on doing the amazing job it does in supporting local young people, including Care Experienced Young People.’
Lucy Cattrall, another young person currently supported by Foyer, said: The Foyer has been an absolute life line for me and it is great to know it will continue to be here to support other young people going through a hard time.’
Caption: In 2018, the Lord Lieutenant of the Western Isles, Donald Martin, presented Foyer chairman Matt Bruce with the Investors in Young People award. NO F46 Western Isles Foyer