Cash boost for befriending scheme

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Up to 15 families caring for children and young people with disabilities in Shetland are set to benefit from an award of £21,093 made to Voluntary Action Shetland and the Shetland Befriending Scheme.

The money will be used to support the ASN Children and Young People’s Befriending section. Volunteers are recruited and matched one to one with a young person and together they undertake activities within Shetland for a few hours a week or a fortnight over a time limited basis.

Befriending project co-ordinator Lynn Tulloch said: “We are delighted to have secured funding from the Better Breaks programme; it will enable our young people’s ASN befriending project to continue to operate at current full-time capacity for another 12 months and will provide befriending to more young people within the Shetland community.”

Funding for the project has come from Scottish government through the Better Breaks grants programme. In total the programme has just awarded more than £1.3 million to 68 projects which will collectively benefit the families of more than 3,846 disabled children and young people.

A parent who has accessed the service said: “Befriending has been invaluable as it has allowed me to have time to myself to do something just for me. My daughter really enjoys the befriending and feels she has ‘a bit of freedom’ for a while and feels able to make her own decisions.”

This is the third year of the Better Breaks programme which was established in 2012 by the government and is administered by carers charity Shared Care Scotland.

The aim of the fund is to improve the range and reach of short breaks for disabled children and their families, especially for children with multiple support needs.

The fund pays for the development of new services that create opportunities for children and young people to meet friends and enjoy leisure activities together or possibly for families to enjoy a much-needed family break away together.

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