26th September 2016
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Befriending scheme boosted by £108,000 ‘Pudsey’ grant

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A befriending service for young people with learning disabilities is the latest recipient of a grant from the BBC’s Children in Need appeal.

Children in Need mascot Pudsey Bear with a cheque showing the amount of cash Shetland received last year.

Children in Need mascot Pudsey Bear.

The scheme, operated by Voluntary Action Shetland, will get more than £108,000. It matches young people with volunteers, ensuring those who might otherwise be at risk of isolation can have fun experiences.

It is hoped the volunteers will help boost the confidence of the youngsters who they befriend and help them avoid becoming socially isolated.

To date, Voluntary Action Shetland has been granted over £343,000 from BBC Children in Need, supporting a range of projects including the befriending scheme. This new grant is their largest to date and is expected to benefit 35 local youngsters.

The latest funding means VAS can keep an additional support needs development worker, who will recruit and train volunteer befrienders, while also assessing matches to ensure they are delivering positive results.

Meetings will be tailored around each individual, though may be as simple as visiting a local cafe for lunch or supporting the young person to attend their local youth club.

Project co-ordinator Lynn Tulloch said: “We’re delighted to be continuing our befriending scheme, which has already shown real benefits to local young people. Our development worker works closely with each individual to understand their specific needs, which means we can deliver strong results and reduce isolation in Shetland.”

Head of BBC Children in Need in Scotland, Mary Duffy, said the organisation was delighted to support the scheme. “With this money they will work with some of the local children and young people who need it most,” she said.

“This round saw the most intense competition for funds to date, with some tough decisions about which projects to fund, so we are more grateful than ever for the great public support. Thank you all.”

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