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£4m fund will provide vital support to Scottish families

 

Scottish families facing loss, isolation or loneliness are amongst those benefiting from a £4 million cash boost from The National Lottery Community Fund

New National Lottery funding to help struggling families in Scotland has been announced.

Across the country, 161 community projects, including those helping families to cope with the loss of a baby and those coming to terms with a family member’s life limiting illness are sharing almost £4m in of funding, all thanks to National Lottery players.

An Edinburgh based charity providing baby loss counselling and support to families will receive £120,753. Over the next three years, Held In Our Hearts will continue its specialist befriending service for bereaved families like Alastair Douglas and his wife Jo who have experienced the loss of a baby. 

In September this year the couple lost their son, Hope, who was stillborn. 

Douglas said: “As a father I just felt helpless, lost and numb.  I like to fix things, but this clearly wasn't something I was going to be able to fix. Both Jo and I don't know anyone who had lost their baby so late in a pregnancy, we just felt so alone. Held in Our Hearts have played a big role in helping us come to terms with our loss. They were with us from very early on, reassuring us when we need help or a simple chat. Whether it be the befriending service or the monthly meets and calls, they have been fantastic and this funding will allow them to continue to provide support to other families.” 

Heather Taylor, principal befriender of Held In Our Hearts, said: “Chatting to a befriender, who has walked that same dark path of grief, and has survived, gives the families hope at a time when life seems hopeless. The funding will also cover two new roles of Compassionate Companions, who can be there to support and guide families in the very early days, enhancing existing community services to provide long term peer bereavement support.”  

In Lanarkshire, The Haven will gain £200,000 over three years to provide a blended model of emotional and wellbeing support for families affected by life limiting illness. 

Jude Irwin, 45, from Hamilton is amongst 700 people who will benefit from the funding over the next three years. Five years ago, Irwin’s husband, Nigel, was diagnosed with a rare and incurable form of Non-Hodgkin lymphoma.  

She said: “When you are effectively sent home to die the devastating news not only impacts on the person who is ill but also on their wider family. We had a seven-year-old son who right from the beginning needed his mum and dad to help him make sense of things. But at the same time, we were both struggling and needed support too. The Haven helped us to find the right space for cancer in our lives. It gave us all a safe place where each of us could separately get the support we needed. They are always there for us as we continue to battle with the illness, and we are so grateful.” 

Janice Williams, chief executive of The Haven, said: “This funding provides critical financial stability for The Haven in this particularly uncertain environment and helps to ensure that vital responsive support services remain available to individuals and families affected by life limiting illnesses and bereavement within Lanarkshire and the surrounding areas. We cannot thank National Lottery players enough for this support.” 

Announcing today’s funding totalling £3,931,314 , The National Lottery Community Fund’s Scotland chair, Kate Still, said: “Many of today’s funded projects will provide support to families across Scotland tackling the issues that are affecting them most during these difficult times. 

“Whether dealing with a bereavement or the diagnosis of a life limiting illness, these projects will make a real difference to hundreds of families, children and young people. It is all thanks to National Lottery players who provide our funding so projects like these can continue their amazing work.” 

National Lottery players raise £30 million every week for good causes in the UK.  

The National Lottery Community Fund in Scotland is currently focusing its funding on those projects that supporting organisations and communities to respond to the challenge of Covid-19.    

 

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