Funding boost for homeless charity

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A Western Isles charity which helps young people who are homeless or in housing need is celebrating a welcome funding boost with the award of a £50,000 grant.

The Lloyds TSB Foundation for Scotland has approved the grant to Western Isles Foyer under its Partnership Drugs Initiative (PDI), which it operates in conjunction with the Scottish Government.

It takes to £80,000 the amount the charity has received through the PDI.

Western Isles Foyer is part of the Foyer Foundation, which helps young people make the transition from dependence to independence.

It has been operating in the Western Isles since 2003, offering support, advice and accommodation to young people aged from 16-25.

The PDI has previously supported the Western Isles Foyer to employ a dedicated worker to help homeless young people who also have a substance misuse problem.

Its latest grant will go towards the salaries and other costs associated with running its Lifeshapers project, which provides a structured support programme with the aim of helping vulnerable young people move on.

The project had sought PDI support for one part-time and three full-time members of staff, six sessional staff and 10 volunteers who will deliver the 12-week programme to between 30 and 40 young people.

Lifeshapers will be delivered in partnership with Lews Castle College, with all participants registered with the college to assist in obtaining accreditation.

Towards the end of the programme emphasis is placed on providing one-to-one support to help young people take the next step in their lives, which can include full-time enrolment to college, employment, volunteering or other training.

Matched funding has been secured through the European Social Fund and Comhairle nan Eilean Sar.

Western Isles Foyer service manager Scott McNeil said: “PDI funding has enabled our organisation to expand and develop the services we offer. We are not able to offer accommodation to all the young people who are referred to us straight away, and this grant will enable us to meet some of their other needs.”

Mary Craig OBE, Chief Executive of the Lloyds TSB Foundation for Scotland, said: “Aberdeen Foyer have been delivering a Lifeshapers programme in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, with PDI support.

“This model was based on evidence from young people who felt vulnerable when they needed treatment support, with no services targeted at those who were ready to take the next step.

“I am delighted that we have been able to provide PDI support the introduction of Lifeshapers to the Western Isles. It is an extremely worthwhile project.”