MSP intervention aids Foyer project

Highlands and Islands Labour MSP and Shadow Minister for Transport and the Islands, David Stewart, has said he is delighted that the future of the Western Isles Foyer at Bayhead in Stornoway is looking assured following his recent intervention.

During a visit to the Foyer last month (December 15TH), Mr Stewart was made aware of some funding concerns the project had and took steps to help the organisation, including asking the health board to step in to see if they could help.

David Stewart said: “I first visited the Foyer in April 2012 and was impressed then with the vital work the service provides in re-integrating the islands’ young people into independent living.

“The Foyer works with service-users to help them secure accommodation, to provide information and advice and to provide access to education, training and employment to allow young people to lead independent and fulfilled lives.

Mr Stewart continued: “When I returned to the Foyer again last month I was pleased to see that the good work was continuing but was alarmed to hear that there were some funding concerns.

“This project provides invaluable help and advice to the islands 16 -25 year olds who need to re-integrate into independent living through their supported accommodation; their Lifeshaper project and through the Drop-in Centre at Bayhead which provides a safe environment for young people to gather and access services relevant to their needs.

“I was eager to help and asked NHS Western Isles if they were able to provide some of the help that the project needed. I am delighted to be advised that successful discussions have taken place with both the NHS and the Comhairle and the project’s future is now looking a lot more secure than it was just a few short weeks ago.

“I appreciate the budgetary pressures NHS Western Isles and the Comhairle are facing, like every other health board and local authority in the country, but I am delighted that the way has been cleared for The Foyer to continue for the foreseeable future.”

Rebecca Mahony, Project Leader, Western Isles Foyer added: ”We are very grateful for the intervention made on our behalf by David Stewart and for the funding commitment from both NHS Western Isles and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar.

“We are delighted to now be in a position where we know that we have sufficient financial stability to continue to deliver valuable support to our service users, who are young people aged 16 - 25 who are homeless, in housing need or subject to other significant social disadvantages, for the foreseeable future.”