Helping hand for Islands’ young people

Seated (l to r) Donald John MacSween (Chief Executive), David Stewart MSP, Sharon McElhatton (Lifeshaper Support Worker)'Standing (l to r) Rebecca Mahony (Finance Administrator), Kevin Paterson (Comhairle nan Eilean Siar Council Candidate (Labour) Stornoway North), Ann Barron (Domestic Support Worker), Sarah (Service User), Megan (Service User)

Seated (l to r) Donald John MacSween (Chief Executive), David Stewart MSP, Sharon McElhatton (Lifeshaper Support Worker)'Standing (l to r) Rebecca Mahony (Finance Administrator), Kevin Paterson (Comhairle nan Eilean Siar Council Candidate (Labour) Stornoway North), Ann Barron (Domestic Support Worker), Sarah (Service User), Megan (Service User)

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Highlands and Islands Labour MSP, David Stewart recently met with staff and service users of the Western Isles Foyer and heard first hand about the vital work the service provides in re-integrating the islands young people into independent living.

Established in 2003, The Foyer works with service-users to support them in securing accommodation, to provide information and advice and to provide access to education, training and employment to help users move on to successfully sustaining their own tenancies and live independent and fulfilled lives.

he three main strands to the service are a 12 week Lifeshaper Programme, a Homeless Resource and Drop-in Centre and Accommodation and Housing Support .

Mr Stewart said: “The Foyer does great work in helping the islands young people re-integrate into independent living.

“The Lifeshaper Programme while enhancing individual’s independent living skills also offers users the chance to gain recognised vocational qualifications and complete work based placements with local employers.

“The service also provides young people with all manner of advice and support on housing/homeless matters both on an informal drop-in basis and with more permanent housing support through it’s dedicated self-contained flats.”

Mr Stewart continued: “The dedication of The Foyer’s staff is evident and the good raport between staff members and service users is clear to see.

“In The Foyer’s own words – All young people need a home, support and a springboard into independent living, learning and work. Some don’t get it and The Foyer fills that gap.

Mr Stewart said: “The Foyer is a shining example of a grass-roots community project which is delivering much needed, and vital, services to the islands young people.

“The service has been part funded by ESF money via the Highlands & Islands Partnership Programme.

“It is to be hoped that, with HIPP now being taken under government control at Holyrood, local projects do not lose out on local understanding and funding.”