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Groups in Uist and Barra have benefited from awards made by the CalMac Community Fund.

The latest round of the Fund, delivered in partnership with Foundation Scotland, welcomed applications from west coast community groups addressing mental health, improved well-being and social isolation, including encouraging people to engage with community activity.

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.

Barra Running Club 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.

Above are Sara Stewart and Fiona Galbraith from the Uist Community Riding School

Uist Community Riding School can invest in equipment for their facilitated learning which will benefit vulnerable individuals and groups and improve their mental and physical health and well-being.

Other groups in Uist and Barra to receive an award from the CalMac Community Fund include Barra Children’s Centre, Comann Eachdraidh Eirisgeidh, Dochas Dancers, Eriskay Pony Society, Sgoil an Iochdair agus a choimhearsnachd, Taigh Chearsabhagh Trust, and Urachadh Uibhist.

Since its launch in 2019 the CalMac Community Fund has now supported 195 groups deliver projects delivering:

  • Health and Wellbeing outcomes including improved mental health, improved self-esteem and increased physical activity.

  • Social and Community outcomes including greater access to local community and social activities, development of new friendships and development of new life skills.

  • Education and Skills outcomes including improved teamwork and communication.

  • Employment and Volunteering outcomes including the generation of 903 volunteering hours.

Projects supported by the Fund have engaged with over 4,500 people living in our communities. Recent research has forecast that for every £ awarded through the CalMac Community Fund, communities' benefit from a social return of £7.32. 

Gordon McKillop, CalMac’s Corporate Social Responsibility Manager, said: “The CalMac Community Fund exists to benefit the lives of people living in our communities, and we are continuing to see its impact and value.

"We are excited to see the benefits from the projects we have supported this year including opportunities for young people living with additional support needs to engage in swimming on Islay, a soup group in Tarbert Loch Fyne for over 60-year-olds and Harris Voluntary Services’ Musical Memories engages people on the island living with dementia.

“We are pleased with the Community Funds reach and look forward to the supporting worthy causes in the future.”

You can find more information about the successful projects by visiting: www.calmac.co.uk/community-fund