Dou­ble ini­tia­tive brings hope for those in cri­sis

The Oban Times - - News - MON­ICA GIB­SON mgib­son@oban­

VUL­NER­A­BLE peo­ple liv­ing in Lochaber could en­joy a new sense of hope thanks to the launch of two ini­tia­tives.

Born out of the needs of lo­cal res­i­dents, Lochaber Hope pro­vides help for peo­ple to cope with a wide range of sen­si­tive and per­sonal is­sues.

The char­ity has been of­fer­ing sup­port since 2005 but it is now set to ex­pand to in­clude a peer men­tor­ing scheme for young peo­ple and a new ‘ women’s space’ ini­tia­tive.

As part of the men­tor­ing pro­gramme, Lochaber Hope will re­cruit and train young peo­ple aged be­tween 16 and 24 years old.

They are look­ing for in­di­vid­u­als who can ‘spot and re­fer’ peers in the com­mu­nity who are vul­ner­a­ble or in cri­sis, and as­sist them to seek help or to recog­nise risk and dan­gers.

A spokesper­son said: ‘ We will pro­vide train­ing and ad­min­is­tra­tive sup­port for the scheme, as well as a drop-in cen­tre where youth men­tors can build strong re­la­tion­ships with ex­ist­ing men­tors and be sup­ported in their learn­ing in a safe and trust­ing en­vi­ron­ment.’

‘Women’s space’ has been launched with the sup­port of the Robertson’s Trust and it is a project that will al­low women to get to­gether, col­lab­o­rate and cham­pion their own ideas.

There will be a weekly dropin be­gin­ning on Wed­nes­day Jan­uary 11 then tak­ing place ev­ery Wed­nes­day be­tween noon and 2pm at the Lochaber Hope’s new premises on Belford Road.

Lochaber Hope says the drop-ins will be an in­spir­ing, em­pow­er­ing and heart-warm­ing en­vi­ron­ment of­fer­ing an op­por­tu­nity for like-minded women to get to­gether and be cre­ative about the things that re­ally mat­ter to them.

The aim is to give the women of the lo­cal com­mu­nity a voice and to be heard. As it will be a user-led project, the women who be­come in­volved will de­cide how they would like to see the ini­tia­tive de­velop in the fu­ture.

The spokesper­son added: ‘This is just the start for the women’s space – the rest is up to you. Do you have a great idea or can think of some­thing you would re­ally like to do or learn, but have never had the op­por­tu­nity?

‘ While ac­tiv­i­ties are, at the mo­ment, tak­ing place in Fort Wil­liam, we would love to in­volve as many women as pos­si­ble and would gladly or­gan­ise spa­ces around Lochaber. Just let us know.’

For more in­for­ma­tion or to book a place con­tact Teresa on 01397 704836 or email teresa. de­bil­lot@lochaber­ or Dani.Drum­mon@lochaber­

Pic­tures: Iain Fer­gu­son, The Write Im­age

Cre­ative writ­ing cour­ses are sched­uled to be­gin on Jan­uary 11 as part of the women’s space pro­gramme. Tak­ing part are, left to right, Cather­ine Mor­ri­son, An­drea Mac­don­ald, Alyson Smith and Dani Drum­mond. Be­low: Alexan­der Ogilvie and Iona Crew sig­nal hope for the fu­ture with peer men­tor­ing for 16- to 24-year- olds.

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