Some 324 organisations will benefit
An £11 million package of National Lottery grants announced today will provide a safe haven for thousands of Scots across the country to turn to for support and advice.
The latest round of funding from The National Lottery Community Fund goes to 324 organisations to support people facing tough times, particularly through the cost of living challenges.
The most common reason for young people under 24 becoming homeless is either leaving or being asked to leave home.
Statistics from 2011/22 show that young people in this age group make up 20% of the country’s homeless population.
An award of £200,000 means that Open Door Scotland will work with over 150 young people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness over the next three years.
One young person who found herself in that position is 21-year-old Dione Mccloskey from Livingston who left home after a breakdown in communication with her family. With no permanent accommodation Dione was sofa surfing and living in temporary accommodation before Open Door Scotland gave her a place in one of their flats in November 2021.
Dione said: “They have helped me sort out housing benefits and other financial stuff and I have also learned how to use a washing machine and do my own washing.”
Dione has since moved to her own flat but is still in touch with Open Door Scotland’s Outreach Unit and has also started volunteering for them, organising, and taking jewellery making classes. She said: “Everyone who comes here has a different background and a lot of them are lost and so I just work with each person individually to try to help them.
“At the end of the day the people at Open Door Scotland are there for me and I know that I can always turn to them. To other young people that are currently in the same situation I was I would say that there is help out there and this is what you can become or achieve if you take the help.”
Aileen Willmott, chief executive officer, Open Door Scotland, said: “We are absolutely delighted that The National Lottery Community Fund has awarded us funding to continue to deliver our Outreach Project in West Lothian and help more young people such as Dione.
“Open Door Scotland has been supporting young people experiencing homelessness for many years and sadly the need for organisations such as ours still exists. This money will allow us to employ two dedicated Outreach Workers who will do all they can to empower young people at a time of crisis, when often their overall well-being is poor, firstly ensuring that their basic needs are met so that they can progress, and then helping them to see that there is light at the end of the tunnel and that, with time, they will be able to secure and sustain their own home and support themselves.”
Announcing the funding, Kate Still, Scotland chair, The National Lottery Community Fund said: “Our funding continues to support people who are facing tough times and who are having to make difficult choices on a day-to-day basis.
“This latest round of awards will ensure that, in times of crisis, there are places where people can to go to for help, often when they feel that there’s nowhere else to turn. As Dione’s story so clearly demonstrates, the reassurance that she felt from knowing that someone was there for her, giving her tools and confidence to cope meant that she felt empowered to make changes in her life. This will now be the case for thousands more people in communities up and down the country.
“National Lottery players can be very proud that they are supporting this vital work making a real difference to so many.”