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Young people from Arran led a presentation to North Ayrshire Council’s cabinet last week on behalf of the Arran Locality Partnership. Working with Arran Youth Foundations (AYF) and Arran High School parent council, the aim is to provide ground-breaking projects that contribute to the wellbeing of all children and young people on Arran, specifically looking at improving mental health and wellbeing services.
At the cabinet meeting earlier this month, elected members agreed to allocate £45,000 from North Ayrshire Council’s pioneering community investment fund (CIF) to help them achieve their goal. This CIF proposal is the first one to be developed by the Arran Locality Partnership, which is piloting a joint approach with the Health and Social Care Partnership’s Locality Forum.
The money will be used to build on innovative projects that have already been piloted by AYF and the parent council which includes the creation of a wellbeing centre, family therapy sessions, heart start training, art therapy and an intergenerational project.
In addition to building on existing projects the group have plans to use to the money to develop and deliver new activities and opportunities including: an annual residential programme for Arran’s young people to explore mental health and wellbeing; a social club for 18 to 25-year-olds to support mental health and wellbeing, a physical wellbeing group – developed by young people; bereavement counselling and bereavement boxes;
crisis services and counselling for addictions; support to families around end of life care; production of a pocket guide to mental health; and self-harm support kits
The funding will also support staff and young people with training needs with a view to build capacity in mental health first aid, the LGBTQI Charter, Winston’s Wish bereavement training, outdoor activity training such as mountain bike leaders and more.
Member of the Arran Youth Foundations, Abi Traill, said: ‘As young people on the island, we have a close view on how mental health affects us and our peers. We face the same issues as every young person in the country – depression, anxiety, suicide and self-harm.
‘However, living on an island presents its own set of challenges. The distance between villages often makes it harder to set up effective support systems for those who desperately need it.
‘This funding will allow so many young people to get the support they need. And it will help to ensure that these services are delivered in ways that are most effective for island life.’
Councillor Louise McPhater, cabinet member for communities, said: ‘The Community Investment Fund is a brilliant opportunity for us to find out what really matters within our communities so we can fairly allocate funding.
‘We recently agreed the community asset transfer of the youth centre based at Arran High School, to the Arran Youth Foundations and we are delighted to be able to further support them and the Arran High School parent council in their commitment to meeting the needs of young people on Arran.’
The Arran Youth Foundations base in Lamlash. 01_B12youth01