Over £440,000 goes to 30 community projects across D&G

Thirty community organisations across Dumfries and Galloway are sharing £440,217 to help tackle mental health and wellbeing.

The successful applicants to the third round of the Scottish Government’s Communities Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund were selected through an independent scoring panel.

The fund has a strong focus on prevention and early intervention and aims to support grass roots community groups in tackling mental health inequalities and address priority issues of social isolation and loneliness, suicide prevention, and tackling poverty and inequality. 

In this round, there was a continued emphasis on responding to the cost-of-living crisis and on those facing socio-economic disadvantage.

The fund in the south of Scotland was administered again by Third Sector Dumfries and Galloway (TSDG).

Alan Webb, TSDG’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “It’s a pleasure to announce the successful projects in Dumfries and Galloway for the third round of the Scottish Government Community Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund. The projects represent a range of community-led activities, each contributing to the wellbeing of our population and demonstrating the important role of communities in responding to local need and realising opportunity.

“Whilst not every group who applied were successful in receiving funding, the volume of interest and quality of submissions demonstrates the importance of community-led development and the further potential of the third sector across our region.”

Julie White, Chief Officer at Dumfries and Galloway Health and Social Care Partnership, said a fantastic range of grassroots projects in the region addressing mental health inequalities were set to benefit from the latest round of support.

 “I congratulate all of them, and the continuing success of the fund in targeting financial support in a way that makes a real difference,” she added.

“Community groups, social enterprises and third sector organisations in our region are so well placed to identify the impact of distress and mental ill health caused by social isolation and loneliness, and to develop and deliver on-the-ground ways to provide help and support.

“I wish them all the very best as they take this work forward, and am very keen to follow their progress.”

Christmas lunch for Carers

Dumfries and Galloway Carers Centre received £25,000 for a project to support the estimated 15,000 Carers in the region by establishing a network of free peer support groups.

Lesley Jeffrey, Adult Carers Manager at the centre, said: “With over 1,000 Carers attending our face to face groups last year, it is reassuring to know that we can continue to offer much needed health and wellbeing opportunities to our Carers in the face of increased living costs which will allow them time out from their caring role.

“We are excited to be able to offer a variety of free activities to Adult Carers and Young Adult Carers across Dumfries and Galloway, which will have a positive impact on their wellbeing and help to reduce isolation.”

Annandale Community Transport Services.

Annandale Community Transport Services was awarded £10,000  to provide hundreds of minibus hires for community groups, supporting various activities for the elderly and disabled to overcome isolation.

The organisation’s chairman, Geoffrey Kitt, said it was created to help local residents overcome the problems associated with lack of effective transport services and the rural isolation experienced by elderly residents in particular.

“The services we provide are essential to the mental wellbeing and health of our elderly passengers,” he explained. “Our services have grown to meet the increasing demand for services to overcome rural isolation due to an ageing population and a reduction in public provision. This funding will help support the continuation of our much-needed services, including transport to hospital appointments, travel club outings and minibus hires for local groups to deliver their services and activities.”

It’s All About You project from Independent Living Support.

Independent Living Support’s (ILS) project It’s All About You received £48,603 Fund to scale up a unique project using peer-to-peer work.

The project is aimed at assisting those with lived trauma using their experience to help them understand their mental health journey to recovery. The initiative has also seen a spin out from the work which has started to build a community of support. The extended project will now include youth peer-to-peer for 16 to 25 year olds.

Lesley McWilliam, Service Manager for ILS, said: “Independent Living Support have worked hard to facilitate this groundbreaking project which focuses on recovery for people with mental health.

“We have been lucky to have worked with the Scottish Recovery Network to enable this type of project to flourish and the successful round of funding will enable us to increase our impact on the wider region and younger age group; this project focuses on sustainable mental health recovery for people and will become a wider community asset for us all in Dumfries and Galloway.”

Glentrool Community Garden.
Glentrool Hive and community garden.

Glentrool and Bargrennan Community Trust received £2,974 to help build a new garden shed for donated garden equipment, buy a freezer to store community garden produce for local use, and also a hand-held mower to maintain paths through the wildlife and wild flower areas of long grass.

Members of the Glentrool Garden Group, Jayne Store and Sonia Rego, said: “By allowing areas of long and short grass, and creating paths, we aim to balance residents’ wishes for the communal space, whether using it as an area to gather for socialising or as a place to sit outside and contemplate views of the hills.

“The community garden has well established fruit bushes which supplied abundant berries last summer, and salad crops are cultivated each year for residents to eat. Surplus harvests will be frozen for use out of season using the new freezers.”

Click here for the full list of successful applicants in Dumfries and Galloway.