Homeless youth charity lands £15,000 cash boost
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Megan said Foyer’s support had been ‘massive’, adding: ‘When I came here first, I was really withdrawn.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.