Community projects get a helping hand

Homestart will use its CalMac Community Fund award to provide CBT therapy to new parents in need NO_T18_homestart

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Yoga and mindfulness sessions for high school pupils are just some of the projects benefitting from CalMac Community Fund awards.

Martyn’s Monday Club are supporting sessions like that for students and other people throughout Oban, Lorn and the Isles with its share of funding to help tackle social issues arising from Covid-19 in west coast communities.

Groups and charities working to help people experiencing mental health issues, social isolation, loneliness and or poverty applied to the Community Fund for awards between £500 and £2,000.

Home Start Lorn was one of the other successful applicants supporting families with at least one child under five where parents are struggling. It will use its award to provide counselling for new parents experiencing mental health issues.

Other fund recipients include Curam Thiriodh for maintaining the independence of people living on Tiree who are lonely and vulnerable; Oban’s Rockfield Centre, Pennyghael Community Hall on Mull and the North Argyll Carers Centre.

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.

CalMac became the first Scottish company to be awarded a Level 2 Social Value Quality Mark for initiatives such as its community fund.

Gordon McKillop, CalMac’s corporate social responsibility manager, said: ‘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.’

Home Start Lorn manager Aileen Binner said the project had been particularly aware of the effect lockdown has had on new parents.

‘Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can make a real difference to people with mild-moderate mental health issues and we are delighted to be able to work in partnership with Oban CBT clinic who will not only support some of our families but will provide some useful training for our volunteers.’

And John Bottomley, director of Tiree’s Curam Thiriodh project added: ‘The pandemic has posed many challenges for everyone, but through a programme of social, informative, and interactive Zoom events, regular one-to one phone calls, and a volunteer shopping service, we have been able to ensure we have maintained regular contact with our clients. We could not have succeeded in all these efforts without the support and generosity of funders such as CalMac whose commitment to generating social value in local communities is invaluable.’