The Western Isles Association for Mental Health (WIAMH) have received £2,500 from community wind farm charity Point and Sandwick Trust.
The charity can spend the money as they see fit. In the case of WIAMH, it will help them run activities at their Catch-23 drop-in service and retain their three support workers.
Del Gunn, WIAMH manager, said: “The timing is fantastic, at the end of the financial year, and the ‘no catch’ is great. It gives us a level of flexibility. If we have got a new idea then we can run with it straight away instead of having to chase the money to do so.
“It’s an absolute godsend because we can plan now. It enables us to retain staff who are in recovery themselves from mental health issues.”
Western Isles Association for Mental Health is the largest service user group of its kind in the Outer Hebrides and recently celebrated its 20 year anniversary.
It is based at 23 Bayhead in Stornoway, just opposite the YMCA bridge. The building itself is owned by Penumbra — a separate mental health charity which provides one-to-one support.
The main project run by WIAMH is Catch 23, a recovery-based drop-in that caters for people with all mental health conditions and addictions. It receives around 5,500 drop-ins every year and is open six days a week, from noon to 4pm, Monday to Friday, and 11am to 3pm on Saturday.
Most of the activities organised by WIAMH take place under the banner of Catch 23. These include two arts groups, a writers group and an addiction support group, as well as gardening sessions and social events.
The addiction support group was set up last summer and is thought to be the first such group in the area to meet during the day. It meets every Tuesday from 1.30pm and was established by the service users themselves. As Del said, “a lot of people with addiction can’t access transport at night-time or don't feel comfortable going out at night-time”.
The arts groups meet on Thursday and Friday afternoons, with the writers group meeting on a Wednesday afternoon. There is also a psychiatric nurse drop-in on Wednesday lunchtimes.
Del added: “The peer support of each other is how this place is successful. It’s the fact that people can learn from other people’s experiences. That shared environment is so conducive to recovery.
“Peer support is just massive and that’s what I see as the biggest benefit of this place.”
The donation to WIAMH is the first instalment of £5000-a-year support, depending on the profits from Point and Sandwick’s community-owned Beinn Ghrideag wind farm.
Angus McCormack, chair of Point and Sandwick Trust, said: “We are delighted to be able to help Western Isles Association for Mental Health and support the very important work they do.”
Point and Sandwick Trust chair Angus McCormack, right, with Del Gunn, Western Isles Association for Mental Health manager, and Cathy MacArthur, WIAMH chair.