The National Lottery Awards 2010
Clydesdale Community Initiatives
Funding amount: £166,068
Location: Lanark, Scotland
Alec, who experiences mental health problems, had always wanted to work but he felt low, unfit and had no confidence in himself. When his occupational therapist referred him to Clydesdale Community Initiatives (CCI), his life changed direction. Thanks to the project, which is based in Lanark and works throughout the Clydesdale area, he was able to develop his existing carpentry skills to a commercial standard, even making furniture for sale as part of the CCI’s workshop team. Since then his confidence has gone through the roof.
CCI works with people like Alec who have been excluded from their communities or the workplace due to a variety of different social and health-related reasons, including those with mental health difficulties, learning disabilities and autism. It also works with young people who have been excluded from school or been in trouble with the police. With CCI, they can engage in programmes covering woodwork, horticulture and landscaping that will help them become active in their communities. They can also get involved in community projects like landscaping and building public gardens. The skills they learn through the project can help them find paid employment, move on to mainstream training and improve their confidence and self-esteem.
A Lottery grant has funded the salary of a project manager, provided training for staff and volunteers and contributed towards the running costs of the project. Thanks to this, CCI is now able to offer 12 workshops a week to 43 individuals. “This means that people with long-term health and social support needs, who would not usually have the opportunity to engage in the workplace, are experiencing the joy of putting in a hard day’s work, the camaraderie of being part of a team and the pride of a job well done,” says CCI Project Manager, Niall McShannon.
CCI also offers training in health and safety, first aid and horticulture. Such courses help meet the employment goals of the volunteers and enable CCI to develop an increasingly experienced workforce. The project has strong links with local primary schools and community groups, which provide CCI’s members with landscaping work and other projects.
The project has been life changing for many. Through his experience at CCI, Alec discovered that he had a natural ability for supporting volunteers and took on a paid role within CCI doing just that. But he’s not stopped there. Since then, he’s moved on to mainstream training and is now part way through completing an SVQ 3 in Social Care with a view to obtaining paid employment on completion, all as a direct result of his experiences at CCI.