We are delighted to announce 23 awards to groups in the Western Isles and and Ullapool, including:
Parkend Holm and Mackenzie Estate Residents Association
The impact of Brexit and COVID-19 is having a huge impact across Scottish rural communities. Energy and food costs are increasing significantly which will have a knock-on effect on the most vulnerable in the community. Last year PHMERA supported 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. PHMERA believe the situation this year is worse, with rising costs putting many families into debt but less acute focus on the need than there was last year.
Breasclete Parent Council
Breasclete Parent Council are a voluntary group who set up to support the local primary school. The CalMac Community Fund will support a mainland trip for the five senior pupils in the school to engage in confidence building, skills awareness and teamwork building skills in a sports/outdoor environment. The Fund coupled with the groups own fundraising work will be supporting these families and helping tackle the impact that social isolation and lower wellbeing outcomes has on children and families and allow inclusive access to opportunities.
Stornoway Running and Athletics Club (SRAC)
SRAC is an unincorporated running club based on Lewis. They currently have 60 young people on a waiting list to join the club. They cannot take on more young people until they have more trained coaching assistants. Exercise and time spent outdoors is evidenced as fundamental to mental health. The CalMac Community Fund will enable the club to grow, meet their demand and engage an increased number of young people.
Cycling Without Age - Lewis and Harris
Cycling Without Age Scotland is a transformational project which brings the elderly population closer to the outdoor environment through the power of cycling. It offers the elderly or less able bodied, the chance to hitch a ride on a trishaw and enjoy the outdoors in a relaxing and invigorating way. The CalMac Community Fund will enable to group to purchase a trishaw.
The primary aim of Taigh Dhonnchaidh is to provide a space for the community to use for the tuition of music, art and dance and classes are run throughout the year for both children and adults, including piping, highland dancing, fiddle, drumming, Gaelic singing, and art. An award from the CalMac Community Fund will allow the group to keep up with increased demand for the service and engage more young people.
Guth Airson Iarrtasan Nis (GAIN)
GAIN is a registered charity and manage The Eoropie Dunes Play Park. The park has been designed to educate, stimulate and entertain youngsters from pre-school age to late teenage and beyond. With help from the Fund GAIN will continue to run the fun days, green gyms and kids holiday activities to bring the community together to reduce isolation and improve wellbeing. GAIN believe as a result of this project the people of Ness will have improved health and well-being, young people will have increased confidence, and the community will have increased environmental appreciation.
Stramash Stornoway is an unincorporated, volunteer run group, which supports musicians in Lewis and Harris by providing numerous platforms to showcase original material including the Battle of the Bands competition on Lewis. The group will purchase industry standard mixing and recording desk for the purposes of the festival, competition, and for future learning and use benefitting the young people and wider community engaging in the group's activities.
Stress Monkey Club CIC
Stress Monkey CIC is based on the Isle of Lewis, in the community of Keose Glebe. The organisation promotes mental health and physical well-being for all age groups providing outreach programmes to people within local communities using therapy, dance and mindfulness-based practices. new community class, Time to Dance, which aims to combat isolation and seasonal loneliness through physical movement and the medium of dance. The organisation is aiming to make use of their local community hall in Keose Glebe more fully, as many activities on the island are focused on larger population centres such as Stornoway. The aim is to have an intergenerational dance programme, focused on the direct community of about 300 people, particularly to combat loneliness among the elderly. This will be delivered through a series of classes where people of all levels can upskill and benefit physically from the activity.
Airidhantuim Young at Heart Club
Airidhantuim Young at Heart Club are a registered charity. Their work aims to promote the wellbeing of the senior citizens of the Galson to Ballantrushal area of the Island of Lewis. They do so by facilitating regular social gatherings to enable them to meet and mix with their peers and so alleviate loneliness and isolation. Following the opening of community facilities post-covid, the AYAHC will resume monthly club meetings and will host a Christmas Dinner with support from the CalMac Community Fund.
Horshader Community Development
Horshader Community Development work to support people living in the Western Isles, in particular the community of Horshader and crofting townships of South Shawbost, Dalmore and Dalbeg. CalMac will support a monthly lunch club for over 65s living on the West side of Lewis. This will provide a social opportunity for older people in the community to enjoy a hot meal and some companionship. It will allow them to get out of the house during the winter months and to connect with local people, volunteers and services. Carers and family members are also welcome with transport being provided. The project will help to overcome social isolation and improve mental health and wellbeing.
Ullapool Sea Savers
Ullapool Sea Savers is a small local charity established as a direct result of children and young people's voices striving to protect their local environment, raise awareness of the challenges facing the local marine environment, and to celebrate and promote the sea around where they live. CalMac's award will enable the Accessible Marine Experiences project which is designed to overcome barriers to accessing marine experiences. The benefits of blue mental health, including engaging with the ocean, are hugely meaningful and this aspires to make the difference between those benefits being accessed or not. The connections forged by the sessions being run by local young people serve to improve social networks, challenge loneliness and increase everyone's sense of belonging in this small community.
The Failte Centre
The Failte Centre aim to improve the quality of life of older people in the community and reduce feelings of loneliness. For example, they achieve this by providing a variety of recreational activities such as a weekly lunch club and regular monthly intergenerational activities with children from Stornoway Primary School. CalMac's support will enable a Christmas Day Lunch project, which will provide individuals who live on their own with a traditional Christmas dinner in a warm and comfortable environment.
Harris Voluntary Service
Harris Voluntary Service support, develop and promote the interests and work of voluntary and community organisations in the Western Isles. Working in partnership with Alzheimer's Scotland they will deliver safe, professional support to individuals suffering from dementia and their carers through the Musical Memories Project, which meets once a monthly to provide an afternoon of music and chat over a cup of tea. It is open to people living with dementia and their carers primarily, but also for anybody with a long term condition or living on their own. Support from the CalMac Community Fund will allow this project to restart face to face.This project addresses isolation and loneliness.
Sgoil an Iochdair agus a choimhearsnachd
SAIAA are seeking funding to complete their project of installing cycle racks at bus stops. The idea behind the project is to promote cycling and access to the public transport network in the area. The new racks will mean local people will be able to cycle down side-roads, park and secure their bicycle at the bus shelter, and use the bus to access longer journeys on the main spinal bus network around Uist Having access to transport is key to avoiding isolation.
Taigh Chearsabhagh Trust
TCT will provide two intensive training and performative opportunities for the traditional Uist-based band, Culla. Culla is made up of four musicians who attend the secondary school in Lioncleit, Benbecula. Because of geographic isolation and their schooling commitments, the members of the group are not able to participate in musical development opportunities which are more easily available to their contemporaries on the mainland. Culla's performances would provide a valuable opportunity for an important and often relatively neglected part of the islands' communities - elder people - to reconnect with and celebrate the traditional music, the Gaelic songs and poetry, which form such an integral part of the identity and culture of the Outer Hebrides. This is especially important following increased isolation during lockdown.
Barra Running Club
Barra Running Club (BRC) is to provide a weekly community health and wellbeing activity where all ages can come along and jog/run. CalMac's support will allow club members to take part in inter-island and mainland running events and competitions. Running events and competitions provide opportunities for members in this relatively remote community to travel elsewhere but can be costly. However, taking part can provide a real mental and physical boost to members, especially younger members who have been unable to take part in any events during covid. These competitions provide opportunities for the club members to travel as a team and build social bonds, experience new races and cities, and improve mental and physical wellbeing through sport.
Dochas Dancers provide dance tuition and competing opportunities for children and young people in the Outer Hebrides. CalMac's Community Fund will allow the group to provide a series of taster days of dance over a ten-month period. Each day will provide sessions in a different dance discipline with several sessions each day for all ages and abilities, including one adult group each day. The intention is that the project will reduce social isolation which can be significant in rural island communities and improve the mental health and wellbeing of those involved. They estimate that up to 100 people will benefit from the project delivery.
Barra Children's Centre
Barra Children's Centre provide a range of child and family services to children and families in Barra and Vatersay. The group, with an award from the CalMac Community Fund, will deliver water safety sessions would be aimed at children aged 5 to 6 years and would educate them on 'safe areas' for swimming on Barra and note the 'danger areas'. It would also include tips and advice on how to enjoy the sea safely, with resources to take away for future reference for families. The aim is to make the event and associated resources to go along with it as user friendly as possible for the children to ensure they are engaged and get the most out of the learning activity.
Comann Eachdraidh Eirisgeidh
Comann Eachdraidh Eirisgeidh (CEE, also known as Eriskay Historical Society) are a charity that work to improve the understanding of the built and natural environment of the Island of Eriskay and the development of individual skills, capabilities and understanding to improve the lives of the inhabitants of the area and the public in general. With support from the CalMac Community Fund the group will develop a community garden that will encourage people to mix with other members of the community once again, the project will provide them with opportunities for social connection as well as a worthwhile focus on growing and selling their own produce.
Tagsa Uibhist's mission is to promote health and wellbeing in Uist, delivering services that meet a range of needs in their community, whilst also providing opportunities for healthy activities and social inclusion. The CalMac Community Fund will support Tagsa Uibhist's Elderly and Dementia Service. With this award, service users will be supported to participate in their Community Gardens on a weekly basis. This will enable participants to be active, to be in a regular social group and to be involved in a meaningful and fulfilling activity. The project will benefit 24 elderly people across Uist, some of whom have been diagnosed with dementia. Many of Tagsa Uibhist's staff speak Gaelic and work with clients in Gaelic when this is preferred, which can be especially useful when working with people with dementia who may struggle with communication. The key benefits for this group will be: Increased levels of activity on a regular basis; Reduced loneliness and social isolation; Cognitive and social stimulation; Enhanced mental health and wellbeing; Improved nutrition through consumption of freshly grown fruit and vegetables (facilitated by the community garden).
Uist Community Riding School
Uist Community Riding School provide riding lessons, pony rides, beach rides and equine learning opportunities to children and adults, both tourists and local residents. CalMac's support will allow the group to invest in equipment for their facilitated learning which will benefit vulnerable individuals and groups and improve their mental and physical health and well-being.
Urachadh delivers training, education and employability opportunities to people living in North Uist and supports the sustainable development of the community. CalMac's Fund will support six outdoor family sessions during the winter months and provide families with resources to do indoor activities at home as part of the 'Wild Things' project and support with resources for their indoor soft play area. The organisation aims to provide facilities and resources to improve the quality of life for local people. Both elements of the project are designed to support the participation and engagement of children and adults in social activities and will provide opportunities for families to come together post pandemic. This will help to reduce isolation and contribute to general health and wellbeing.
Eriskay Pony Society - Comann Each nan Eilean
With support from CalMac this project will aim to utilise the horses to develop new community services, including therapeutic sessions for young people engaging with the ponies, opportunities to take part in pony walks around the island, and demonstrations and workshops covering the cultural heritage of the ponies and their role in island life. Sessions will be an opportunity for communities to come together after covid and will impact the local community specifically through improved mental health and wellbeing, reduced social isolation, and the promotion and conservation of the horses.