Service is unique to the region
Vital funds have been awarded to a Highland charity to support those most affected by the cost-of-living crisis.
Inverness-based New Start Highland has been awarded a £60,000 grant from the National Lottery’s Community Fund, cash raised by players of the National Lottery.
The services New Start offers enables individuals and families to mitigate the damaging effects of the cost-of-living crisis by providing much needed furniture and household items.
Knock on effects include improved mental health and easing the pressures and anxieties of day-to-day life.
Providing essential furniture and furnishings greatly enhances both people’s living conditions and quality of life, which in turn improves physical health and well-being.
This provision is unique to the Highlands, with no other service providing no cost furniture and starter packs to people suffering in the cost-of-living crisis.
Additionally, the charity’s housing support team deals with over 500 vulnerable Highland families each year.
James Dunbar, chief executive of New Start Highland commented: “Thanks to National Lottery’s Community Fund, this grant comes at a crucial time and means we can continue to deliver essential furniture and household goods throughout our local community.
“We make furniture available at low or no cost, depending on individual circumstances and this service is aimed at a growing number of people who are suffering considerably from the rising cost of living.
“Our drivers collect donated items from the public and these are cleaned, repaired and redistributed to those who have been referred to us by partner agencies or have self-referred.
“Our team is supported by a group of volunteers, many of whom have lived experience of suffering from poverty and the pressures of cost of living.
“This provides a unique insight into what our target group need and how our service is shaped to help them.”
He continued: “The Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s annual UK poverty report states that six million of the poorest people – those living in deep poverty – would need on average more than double their incomes to move out of hardship.
“Escaping poverty has never been more of a challenge and New Start Highland plays a part in trying to combat this right across the Highlands.”
With 23 years of experience, the organisation has found that communities located out with the Inverness city area often suffer higher levels of unmet need, principally due to their rural locality and a lack of access to services.
Its services help alleviate this with deliveries happening across Ross-shire, Caithness, Sutherland, Lochaber and the Isle of Skye.