Western Isles Foyer is delighted to be in a position to confirm that it has today (Thursday November 19) received £50,000 of funding from the Emergency Fund set up by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and SSEN.

The fund will provide support to community organisations which provide essential services who have been impacted by loss of wind farm generated income.

Western Isles Foyer, as one of the charities impacted, will be receiving the full £50,000 of funding, in time to save the service from closure, to compensate for the loss of the Point and Sandwick Trust (PST) grant income which was due to be received this financial year.

Rebecca Mahony, Western Isles Foyer Project Leader, said: “We would like to express our thanks to all at the Comhairle and SSEN who have been working so hard to establish this Emergency Fund to help out the affected organisations, including Western Isles Foyer

Comhairle Leader, Roddie Mackay, said: “The Comhairle is keenly aware of the important role that the Western Isles Foyer provides to the local community. We were aware that they were at crisis point and are very pleased to have been able to support the service in this manner.

“We now have a schedule from all the community generators showing the community bodies that they are supporting.  We are assessing that schedule and will shortly be providing application forms and welcoming applications from the impacted bodies.  We are targeting the Fund on the most vulnerable groups in the community and the priority will be to support these groups in the first instance.  I am very pleased with the quick turnaround from establishing the Fund on Monday to paying out the first grant today.”

Rebecca continued: “Thank you so much to the community who have been publically and privately supporting us over the last couple of weeks to keep fighting to save this essential support service for local young people.  Myself and the rest of the Foyer staff team have been overwhelmed by the strength of support to save Foyer and all the kind messages from people in our community, especially from all the young people (past and current service-users).

“Huge and heartfelt thank you goes out to each and everyone of you who got on board with supporting us to save Foyer via our Just Giving Crowdfunding appeal.  It’s absolutely wonderful to have raised £5,335 in less than a week, and goes to show that Community Spirit is alive and well even during the season of hardship for everyone during the Covid-19 season.  Special thanks go to Colin S Macleod, community champion and all-round good guy, for setting this Crowdfunding appeal up on behalf of Foyer.

“We would like to utilise the money raised via the Crowdfunding appeal to set up a fund to provide financial assistance to young people supported by Foyer to help with the cost of setting up home.  This will be specifically for those young people unable to access any other funds for this e.g. to help with the cost of flooring, furnishings and white goods at the point when they are allocated unfurnished tenancies.”

One of the young people previously supported by Foyer responded to the news by saying;  “I think it is amazing news to hear that Foyer has been saved.  They are an outstanding service for young people in the Western Isles.  A fantastic result to hear that Foyer is going to be able to carry on doing the amazing job they do in supporting local young people, including Care Experienced Young People.”

Lucy Cattrall, another young person who is currently supported by Foyer said: “I’m so relieved to hear this news and know that Foyer will still be here to support me. They’ve been an absolute life line for me and great to know they will continue to be here to support other young people going through a hard time.”