Scottish support groups share £1.7m lottery funding

Jail Circle Scotland tries to strengthen family bonds after a father is jailed

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A group helping ex-offenders become better fathers is among five projects sharing £1.7m of Big Lottery funding.

The Circle Scotland Families Affected by Imprisonment Project was awarded £436,068 for its work in North and South Lanarkshire.

The project targets ex-inmates and their children, and tries to strengthen family ties.

Also funded were Cobhair Bharraigh, Artn'Mind, Aberdeen Cyrenians and Easterhouse Citizen's Advice Bureau.

Father-of-six Robert Scott has been helped by Circle Scotland since being released from HMP Addiewell after serving four-and-a-half months for assault.

He described how he had benefited from advice given by his support worker.

"In the summer he worked with my partner and me to get two of the children a holiday and now he's helping me to try to find work," he said.

"I want my kids to see that their dad made a mistake but they don't all have to pay."

In Clackmannanshire, £575,492 was awarded to the the Artn'Mind social enterprise project from Reachout With Arts In Mind which works with people experiencing mental health problems.

Start Quote

We need to help this very vulnerable client group gain the skills, knowledge and understanding required to manage their finances ”

End Quote Loretta Gaffney Easterhouse Citizens Advice

The money will help the group set up The Makers Gallery & Bistro, a cafe and art gallery in Alloa.

Reachout member and potential trainee Alyssa Reid said: "With this lottery funding we will now have the opportunity to not only display and sell the incredible art created by Reachout members but also serve fantastic food and train people in the food service industry."

Cobhair Bharraigh received £160,549 for a project supporting older people in the Western Isles retain their independence at home, and offering support for carers.

'Financial maze'

In Glasgow, Easterhouse Citizen's Advice Bureau was awarded £237,691 to establish its Financial Management Project, offering financial advice to refugees who recently arrived in Scotland.

Manager Loretta Gaffney said many refugees spoke poor English and were traumatised by their experiences, making it hard for them to make sense of what could often seem like an "intimidating financial maze".

"We need to help this very vulnerable client group gain the skills, knowledge and understanding required to manage their finances and make use of the services available to them."

Aberdeen Cyrenians received a grant of £328,473 for the Violence Against Women project which supports women overcome problems related to their physical abuse, such as homelessness, unemployment, substance abuse or other health issues.

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