Young people’s charity helped by Point and Sandwick Trust

Angus McCormack, chairman of Point and Sandwick Trust, presenting the cheque to Foyer Project Leader Rebecca Mahony, (centre), and support worker Anna Campbell.

Angus McCormack, chairman of Point and Sandwick Trust, presenting the cheque to Foyer Project Leader Rebecca Mahony, (centre), and support worker Anna Campbell.

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A charity which helps homeless young islanders can look forward to a brighter New Year thanks to Point and Sandwick Trust, which recently handed over a cheque for £15,000.

The donation is the first half of the £30,000 which Western Isles Foyer will get every year from the wind farm charity.

Foyer helps people in the Outer Hebrides who are aged between 16 and 25 and “homeless, in housing need or otherwise significantly socially disadvantaged”.

It is one of the six big projects that Point and Sandwick Trust have pledged to support every year with their annual £500,000 profits from Beinn Ghrideag, Bethesda being another.

The grant is not restricted other than a condition stipulating that statutory organisations must not use it as a reason to reduce any of their own support for the project.

Rebecca Mahony, Project Leader for Western Isles Foyer, said: “We were delighted to receive £15,000 from Point and Sandwick Trust. This will make an enormous impact in our organisation and will also assist us in attracting additional match funding to help and support some of the most vulnerable people living in our community.

“It is a fantastic achievement that Point and Sandwick Power are now in a position to distribute dividends via Point and Sandwick Trust to local charities and organisations such as ourselves.

“We would like to express our thanks and gratitude to all involved with the project and the hard work it has taken to get the project to this point. Well done.”

Point and Sandwick Trust general manager Donald John MacSween said: “Foyer is Western Isles wide, addressing a key area for us which is helping young adults who are homeless or in housing need, with supported accommodation, preparation for employment, health and social issues.”

He added: “I was their first CEO so for me it’s particularly important that we are now in a position to help Foyer to enable them to carry on the good work that they already do.”

Foyer was set up in 2003 in response to recognition that young people were becoming homeless, whether that was for failing to pay their rent, antisocial behaviour or other reasons.

It initially provided a supported accommodation service. In 2011 it expanded its service provision by creating a drop-in service and independent living skills programme.

This was aimed at helping young people develop the skills they need, from cooking to budgeting, to be able to successfully live on their own and also aimed at helping them move into education, training and employment.

The organisation currently has 10 self-contained one-bedroom flats in its supported accommodation service, all owned by Hebridean Housing Partnership.

Over the last year Foyer has supported more than 75 young people across all its services. The drop-in service is run from the charity’s base at 36 Bayhead in Stornoway and is open Monday to Friday.

Foyer also run monthly service user nights and invite guest speakers along to talk about issues relevant to the young people. The events are aimed at reducing social isolation and encouraging positive peer networks.

Rebecca said: “There is a local perception that there isn’t much homelessness in the Western Isles because you don’t see people sleeping rough but there’s a lot of people of no fixed abode, who are sofa surfing or living in temporary homeless accommodation.

“We work with a wide variety of young people who have nowhere to call home including young people who are leaving care placements, locally or on the mainland, or who are unable to remain at home with their parents or carers.

“We also work with young people who have been involved, or at risk of involvement, with criminal or anti-social behaviour or who have additional support needs, such as physical or mental health issues, additional learning needs or other issues that means they will require support to successfully sustain a tenancy.”