Community Organisations Share Over £1.3million Across D&G

Fifty community organisations across the length and breadth of Dumfries and Galloway will share over £1.3million to help tackle mental health inequalities.

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

The new Fund – administered across the South of Scotland by Third Sector Dumfries and Galloway – supports adult community-based initiatives to help address the impact of distress and mental ill health caused by social isolation and loneliness. It will also address mental health inequalities exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Unsuccessful applicants can access further assistance through other third sector funding organisations or the local third sector interface.

In Dumfries and Galloway, £84,469 was awarded to Dumfries and Galloway Outdoor and Woodland Learning Group (DG OWL) for their regionwide project Branching Out.

This will help people with mental ill health gain the health benefits of being outdoors and meeting other people in a safe way.

Network DG OWL supports outdoor learning and works with all ages and abilities by giving teachers skills and ideas to feel safe and confident going outdoors with their pupils. It also takes young people outdoors and upskills members with training to become Branching Out leaders allowing them to work with more people with mental health needs. Participants spend three hours a week outdoors together for 12 weeks learning about their environment and new skills.

DG OWL’s Elizabeth Tindal said: “Our Community Mental Health and Wellbeing fund grant is really going to help our local communities become healthier by giving people with mental ill health the tools and interest to spend more time outdoors, which is better for them and the people around them.
“Because of this grant, we are able to include people with long term conditions and expand the number of Branching Out programmes we can run and increase our geographic spread. Importantly, the funding will also pay for a coordinator post liaising with the Health Services, who have people in need of this programme.”

Another successful regionwide project was Reaching Out from LGBT Youth Scotland with £23,538 awarded. The money will allow the organisation to increase the number of LGBTI young people they work with in Dumfries and Galloway, both in person and on-line, building stronger communities and supporting young people to identify wellbeing challenges at an early stage and effect positive change in their own lives.

Ali Kerr, Head of Partnerships LGBT Youth Scotland, said: “We know that LGBTI young people, especially Transgender and Non- Binary young people, experience extra barriers when accessing mental health services and we look forward to developing our partnership work with mental health services in Dumfries and Galloway and create clear pathways for LGBTI young people to access those services more effectively.”

David McVitie, Chairman of Threave Rovers Football Club, welcomed the £6600 awarded to their ‘Head Clear’ initiative saying it would bring massive benefit to the community.

“The funding will allow the club to provide mental health workshops aimed at the local community and the surrounding area,” he added. “They will provide support to individuals struggling with mental health issues and provide guidance on where and how to get support.”