CalMac is to give cash support to seven Lewis-based youth groups, after what awarding judges described as an ‘impressive’ range of applications from the island.

The groups are set to benefit from the ferry operator's Community Fund, which looks for social value by supporting non-profit organisations based in a mainland port or island the company serves. All the projects supported must benefit the lives of children and young people living in west coast communities and organisations can apply for any amount between £500 and £2000. 

Back Football and Recreation Club is using their award to organise professional golf tuition for a group of sixteen young people. Louise Stewart from the club said: “We're really grateful to CalMac for this grant, which will allow us to run some junior golf tuition later this year. We have some really enthusiastic youngsters who are itching to get out onto the driving range to develop their skills.”

In Ness the group based at Taigh Dhonnchaidh identified a need for activities for children with additional support needs. Their project will provide music therapy support for this particular group, providing a safe space for them and their carers and giving them the chance to socialise on a regular basis.

Meanwhile Sporsnis will use their award to organise affordable after-school fitness sessions for local young people.

Kinloch Historical Society identified a lack of arts craft activities for young people. With support from CalMac, they now plan to set up a regular arts and crafts club.

Swim Western Isles' award will use their award to buy starting blocks to prepare their young swimmers for competitive swimming meets. The club currently has 77 young swimmers unable to get access to this type of training at the moment.

Lewis and Harris Youth Pipe Band are using their award to help them get uniforms for all band members, something that is currently beyond their financial reach.

And in Stornoway, Fèis Eilean an Fhraoich's award will support a year-long programme of Gaelic song, masterclass workshops and a concert celebration during this year's Fèis week.

All the applications were judged by a screening panel of young people recruited from across the company's network, in partnership with Young Scot and Erica Clark of the community learning and development department at Comhairle nan Eilean Siar.

CalMac's corporate social responsibility manager Gordon McKillop said: “The variety of projects put forward in Lewis really impressed the judging panel. All seven of these projects will play a big role in widening opportunities and removing barriers facing young people on the island.”