Grant of £10,000 for islands mental health association

The Western Isles Association for Mental Health has been awarded a £10,000 grant from the NHS in recognition of the invaluable service it provides.

Based in Bayhead in Stornoway, WIAMH provides a drop-in base known as Catch 23 which supports people by providing an informal, relaxed and safe place for people to meet and discuss issues without the fear of being judged by the stigma of mental health and the issues that surround it.

The drop-in is an adult service and is available to those who are experiencing or have experienced mental health difficulties. Their carers, friends, relatives and members of the general public are also welcome.

Activities within the drop-in centre include art sessions, creative writing, access to a garden, free internet access and healthy eating information and tea and coffee making facilities.
Del Gunn, WIAMH project manager, said: “WIAMH, founded in 1996, has seen an ongoing increase in attendance at the drop-in over the past 10 years. We expect to cater for almost 200 service users in 2014 and we will experience approximately 6,000 individual drop-ins to the service. This grant funding will prove invaluable to help us meet increasing demands. We will use some of the money to part-fund the ongoing costs of one of our project workers.

“We will also be able to increase the production and distribution of literature promoting the project. In addition, we will allocate some of the funding towards the cost of the activities within the drop-in and we will allocate increased funding towards volunteer costs and training.”

NHS Western Isles chief executive, Gordon Jamieson added: “On behalf of NHS Western Isles, I would like to pay tribute to the outstanding contribution that this small organisation makes to supporting people with mental health issues in the Western Isles. This grant is a small contribution, which we hope will help WIAMH continue to provide essential services to an increasing number of people.”

NHS Western Isles chief executive Gordon Jamieson is pictured presenting the cheque to WIAMH project manager Del Gunn, watched by association staff and service users