Home­less youth char­ity lands £15,000 cash boost

The Oban Times - - News - MON­ICA GIB­SON mgib­son@oban­times.co.uk

A CHAR­ITY which helps home­less young is­lan­ders can look for­ward to a brighter New Year thanks to a cheque for £15,000.

The do­na­tion is the first half of the £ 30,000 which Western Isles Foyer will get ev­ery year from the wind farm char­ity Point and Sand­wick Trust (PST).

Foyer was set up in 2003 in re­sponse to recog­ni­tion that young peo­ple were be­com­ing home­less, whether that was for fail­ing to pay their rent, an­ti­so­cial be­hav­iour or other rea­sons.

Re­becca Ma­hony, pro­ject leader for Western Isles Foyer, said: ‘ We were de­lighted to re­ceive £15,000 from Point and Sand­wick Trust. This will make an enor­mous im­pact in our or­gan­i­sa­tion and will also as­sist us in at­tract­ing ad­di­tional match-fund­ing to help and sup­port some of the most vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple liv­ing in our com­mu­nity.’

PST gen­eral man­ager Don­ald John MacSween said: ‘Foyer is Western Isles-wide, ad­dress­ing a key area for us which is help­ing young adults who are home­less or in hous­ing need, with sup­ported ac­com­mo­da­tion, prepa­ra­tion for em­ploy­ment, health and so­cial is­sues.’

He added: ‘I was their first CEO, so for me it’s par­tic­u­larly im­por­tant that we are now in a po­si­tion to help Foyer ad en­able them to carry on the good work that they al­ready do.’

Over the past year Foyer has sup­ported more than 75 young peo­ple across all its ser­vices. The drop-in ser­vice is run from the char­ity’s base at 36 Bay­head in Stornoway and is open Mon­day to Fri­day.

Me­gan Shaw, 23, is one young per­son in­debted to Western Isles Foyer for help and sup­port at a cru­cial point in her life. Me­gan, from Lewis, has been in­volved with Foyer since she was 18 and been in sup­ported ac­com­mo­da­tion for the past four years. She is now ready to move on to her own per­ma­nent ten­ancy with He­bridean Hous­ing Part­ner­ship.

Me­gan said Foyer’s sup­port had been ‘mas­sive’, adding: ‘When I came here first, I was re­ally with­drawn. ‘I was re­ally shy. I was strug­gling with de­pres­sion and all that. My con­fi­dence was rock bot­tom. I didn’t have any self- es­teem but, through their sup­port with ac­com­mo­da­tion and col­lege, I’ve devel­oped and now I am a lot more con­fi­dent.

‘Foyer were the light I needed to guide me through the dark­ness.’

Me­gan suc­cess­fully com­pleted two col­lege cour­ses at Lews Cas­tle Col­lege and is now work­ing with Who Cares Scot­land as a par­tic­i­pa­tion as­sis­tant, a job for which she is qual­i­fied due to her own ex­pe­ri­ences of care.

‘I’m reach­ing out to young peo­ple who are in care or are care- ex­pe­ri­enced and al­low­ing them to have a voice. Some of them don’t feel they have a voice be­cause of all the stigma around be­ing in care.’

An­gus McCor­mack, chair­man of Point and Sand­wick Trust, pre­sent­ing the cheque to Foyer pro­ject leader Re­becca Ma­hony, cen­tre, and sup­port worker Anna Camp­bell.

Me­gan Shaw with her Saltire Young Vol­un­teer of the Year award.

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