Windfarm charity support Mental Health

Point and Sandwick Trust chair Angus McCormack, right, with Del Gunn, Western Isles Association for Mental Health manager, and Cathy MacArthur, WIAMH chair.
Point and Sandwick Trust chair Angus McCormack, right, with Del Gunn, Western Isles Association for Mental Health manager, and Cathy MacArthur, WIAMH chair.

The Western Isles Association for Mental Health (WIAMH) have received £2,500 from community wind farm charity Point and Sandwick Trust.

As usual, with Point and Sandwick Trust community donations, there are no caveats. The charity can spend the money as they see fit. In the case of WIAMH, it will help them run activities at their Catch-23 drop-in service and retain their three support workers.

Del Gunn, WIAMH manager, said: “The timing is fantastic, at the end of the financial year, and the ‘no catch’ is great. It gives us a level of flexibility. If we have got a new idea then we can run with it straight away instead of having to chase the money to do so.

“It’s an absolute godsend because we can plan now. It enables us to retain staff who are in recovery themselves from mental health issues.”

Western Isles Association for Mental Health is the largest service user group of its kind in the Outer Hebrides and recently celebrated its 20 year anniversary.

It is based at 23 Bayhead in Stornoway, just opposite the YMCA bridge. The building itself is owned by Penumbra — a separate mental health charity which provides one-to-one support.

The main project run by WIAMH is Catch 23, a recovery-based drop-in that caters for people with all mental health conditions and addictions. It receives around 5,500 drop-ins every year and is open six days a week, from 12noon to 4pm, Monday to Friday, and 11am to 3pm on Saturday.

Most of the activities organised by WIAMH take place under the banner of Catch 23. These include two arts groups, a writers group and an addiction support group, as well as gardening sessions and social events.

The donation to WIAMH is the first instalment of £5000-a-year support, depending on the profits from Point and Sandwick’s community-owned Beinn Ghrideag wind farm.

It also part of a jigsaw of support created by Point and Sandwick Trust for vulnerable islanders, following recent donations of £15,000 each to Hebrides Alpha and Western Isles Foyer.

Hebrides Alpha offer supported accommodation and a rehabilitation programme for islanders recovering from addiction. Foyer help young people who are homeless, in housing need or otherwise significantly socially disadvantaged.

WIAMH are often consulted with by public bodies such as the Scottish Health Council and NHS due to its important role in the Third Sector. They also provide training, most notably the ASIST suicide prevention training and Scottish Mental Health First Aid Training, to organisations and in the community.

Angus McCormack, chair of Point and Sandwick Trust, said: “We are delighted to be able to help Western Isles Association for Mental Health and support the very important work they do.

“Mental health issues can play a part in problems with addiction or in housing crises. Together with other donations to the Hebrides Alpa project and Western Isles Foyer, this donation creates a package of support from Point and Sandwick Trust to charities which help the most vulnerable in our community to make a recovery.”