CalMac has today (Tuesday February 22) announced awards of up to £2,000 each to charity groups across the Western Isles working to provide community services.
The awards are the latest to have been made through the CalMac Community Fund, which benefits the lives of people living across the ferry network by helping non-profit groups to achieve their goals.
Delivered in partnership with Foundation Scotland, the fund welcomed applications from west coast and island community groups addressing mental health, improved well-being and social isolation including encouraging re-engagement with community activity.
The Parkend Holm and Mackenzie Estate Residents Association was successful in applying for an award to support the most vulnerable in their community with food parcels and food/electricity vouchers. The CalMac Community Fund will allow this much needed service to continue.
Roddy MacKenzie, Chair, PHAME said: “We are delighted to receive this funding from the CalMac Community Fund. This award will allow us to support the most vulnerable members of our community who are experiencing financial hardship and the food vouchers will make a huge difference to both families and individuals."
Working in partnership with Alzheimer’s Scotland, Harris Voluntary Service will deliver safe, professional support to individuals suffering from dementia and their carers through their Musical Memories Project.
Carolynn MacPhee said: "Musical Memories are delighted to have secured an award from the CalMac Community Fund. It will enable us to continue our musical group which supports people living with dementia or any other long term condition as well as those living alone. It reduces isolation and enables people to feel part of their community. Music is proven to have many benefits and we also enjoy a chat, often reminiscing on the past. The service was transferred to Zoom during the pandemic, so we have enjoyed listening to performers from further afield. Hopefully in the near future, we may be able to resume face to face meetings."
With support from the CalMac Community Fund, Comann Eachdraidh Eirisgeidh will develop a community garden that will encourage people to mix with other members of the community. The project will provide opportunities for social connection as well as a focus on growing and selling their own produce.
Marie MacMillan of Comann Eachdraidh Eirisgeidh said: “Comann Eachdraidh Eirisgeidh are pleased to receive this award as it will enable us to set up allotments where locals will be able to grow vegetables and hopefully create a hive of activity. The value to mental health and wellbeing from participating in such activities is well recognised and welcomed in the current climate.”
The Stress Monkey Club aims to have an intergenerational dance programme to combat loneliness among the elderly. Louise Davidson of the Stress Monkey Club said: “Community Tea Dance for fun learning, laughter, and yes...there will be tea! A warm welcome awaits with thanks to the CalMac Community Fund - it's Time to Dance!” The club addresses mental and physical wellbeing across the Western Isles by promoting and delivering classes and sessions within the community and isolated areas.
Other groups in the Western Isles to receive an award from the CalMac Community Fund include: Breasclete Parent Council, Stornoway Running and Athletics Club (SRAC), Cycling Without Age - Lewis and Harris, Taigh Dhonnchaidh, Guth Airson Iarrtasan Nis (GAIN), Stramash Stornoway, Airidhantuim Young at Heart Club, Horshader Community Development, The Failte Centre, Harris Voluntary Service, Sgoil an Iochdair agus a choimhearsnachd, Taigh Chearsabhagh Trust, Barra Running Club, DochasDancers, Barra Children's Centre, Tagsa Uibhist, Uist Community Riding School, Urachadh Uibhist and Eriskay Pony Society - Comann Each nan Eilean.
Gordon McKillop, CalMac’s Corporate Social Responsibility Manager: “The CalMac Community Fund was created to make a difference for our communities and customers, and we are continuing to see its impact and value.
“We are excited to see the benefits from the projects we have supported this year.”
Helen Wray, Head of Programmes at Foundation Scotland said: ““Foundation Scotland is delighted to work in partnership with CalMac to help manage their Community Fund. We were truly inspired by the high number and quality of applications last year. This is a real demonstration of how many charitable groups are working at the grassroots of our communities to help and support local residents with vital services and activities. The impact funding like this can have for these groups can be significant, all thanks to the CalMac Community Fund.”
You can find more information about the successful projects by visiting www.calmac.co.uk/communityfund.
Photograph by Judi Hayes