Big Lottery Fund Scotland awards £5.5m to charities

Girl at window Barnardo's Hopscotch in Angus has been awarded funds to help families affected by substance abuse

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Charities across Scotland are to claim a share of more than £5.5m from the Big Lottery Fund Scotland.

Awards are being made to 11 schemes as part of the fund's Investing in Communities programme.

The largest single grant, £1,145,251, has gone to the Upper Eskdale Development Group to create a community building.

Projects helping families deal with drug addiction in Angus and Ayrshire are also sharing funding worth £1.2m.

Barnardo's Hopscotch project in Angus has been awarded £484,345.

Helping families

Two initiatives in Ayrshire, the Lighthouse Foundation and Addaction Ayrshire, have been given £528,464 and £200,629 respectively.

The charities will use the funding to support schemes which help families cope with the impact of addiction on both individuals and the family itself.

Susan's story

Susan was referred to Barnardo's Hopscotch project when she was seven-years-old.

Her parents have had substance misuse issues for as long as she can remember.

They were unable to care for their children adequately.

At the age of 10, Susan was the eldest child and took on the role of carer to her younger siblings.

Susan described growing up in this environment as being "really horrible".

She remembered the house being a mess because her parents were usually too under the influence to clean up or provide the basics.

Through the Hopscotch project, Susan was supported by Joan, her befriender, who helped her develop her confidence and self-esteem, and eased her sense of isolation.

Now 12-years-old, she says their support was vital: "Having a befriender really helped me.

"We would go out ice skating, bowling, visit parks and have lots of fun playing games or doing activities like drawing and baking.

"I could really talk to Joan and tell her things in confidence."

Today, Susan no longer needs contact with Hopscotch.

She is living with a permanent foster carer and is a happy, confident girl who has lots of friends and enjoys school.

She credits Hopscotch for being a great source of support and helping her.

Big Lottery Fund Scotland chairwoman Maureen McGinn said: "These particular groups recognise the consequence of substance misuse on the individual, their family, community and lifestyle.

"Using different approaches each project will provide practical and emotional support to help those affected overcome their challenges."

Barnardo's Hopscotch programme is run by the children's charity in association with Tayside Council on Alcohol and Angus Carers Association.

The scheme provides support to children and young people affected by parental alcohol or drug misuse, by offering services such as a "befriender".

Rebuilding communities

Murdo Mathers, children services manager for Barnardo's Angus Office, said: "The money from Big Lottery Fund Scotland will allow us to provide jobs and resources to help improve the mental health of children and young people, improve relationships at home and within the wider community and reduce the burden of substance misuse within the family."

The Eskdale funding means the local community will be able to build a two storey extension to the former Victorian school building which will house workspaces, offices, an art room, shop, cafe, bakery and a flexible community space.

Nicolas Jennings, project development manager, said: "We see it as a huge boost to our confidence in our plans to encourage each other in our community to come together to tackle some of the big challenges that face small rural communities like ours in this time of change.

"We hope that our Community Hub will be like a well at the centre of our community that endures, never drying to dust, never overflowing but serving all of us for generations to come.

"It will serve as a place to meet socially and creatively, a place where we can develop the kinds of support that our rapidly ageing population is going to increasingly need. It will help to generate new ways for younger people in our village to earn a living."

The projects receiving a share of the funding are:

  • Rathbone Training, Glasgow - £656,308
  • Midlothian Sure Start, Gorebridge - £398,128
  • JMT Care Services Ltd, Livingston - £463,171
  • Women Onto Work, Edinburgh - £600,000
  • Kindred Advocacy, Fife - £372,800
  • Inverclyde Council on Disability - £452,962
  • Upper Eskdale Development Group, Dumfries - £1,145,251
  • Stirling and District Women's Aid, Stirlingshire - £316,123
  • Barnardo's Hopscotch, Angus - £484,345
  • The Lighthouse Foundation, Ayrshire - £528,464
  • Addaction Ayrshire, Ayrshire - £200,629.

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