Community wind farm charity Point and Sandwick Trust have given £2,500 to Advocacy Western Isles — completing a package of support for some of the most vulnerable people in island society.
The money is the first half of an annual commitment of £5,000 to Advocacy and will enable the service to increase the hours of its workers across the islands to help meet demand.
Ernie Garden, chairman of Advocacy Western Isles, said the increased hours would mainly go towards helping people with mental health issues and the elderly. He said: “It will enable us to expand the service. The need is there and we would like to meet the need.”
Advocacy Western Isles is a free, independent and confidential service that supports people in speaking up for themselves, defending their interests and ensuring their voice is heard.
It is for “people who feel isolated and don’t know where or who to turn to”, explained operations manager Cathy Anne Dunn. Service users may be adults, children or young people, the elderly, people with learning difficulties or those experiencing mental health issues.
Cathy Anne added: “Through Advocacy they basically have someone there who is loyal to them and whose job it is to be on their side, to ensure that they’re listened to, their voice is heard, their rights are explored and upheld and they are included in decisions about them.
“Service users always say that, for someone who is vulnerable and feels isolated, you can’t really put a value on it. The feedback that we get is tremendous.” Advocacy deal with between 600 and 1000 cases a year, from the Butt to Barra.
Donald John MacSween, Point and Sandwick Trust (PST) general manager, said they were delighted to help. “We are in the business of supporting vulnerable people who are quite often forgotten and Advocacy can give a voice to these people.”