Befriending scheme boosted by £108,000 ‘Pudsey’ grant

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.”


Add Your Comment

Add Your Comment

Please note, it is the policy of The Shetland Times to publish comments and letters from named individuals only. Both forename and surname are required.

Comments are moderated. Contributors must observe normal standards of decency and tolerance for the opinions of others.

The views expressed are those of contributors and not of The Shetland Times.

The Shetland Times reserves the right to decline or remove any contribution without notice or stating reason.

Comments are limited to 200 words but please email longer articles or letters to for consideration and include a daytime telephone number and your address. If emailing information in confidence please put "Not for publication" in both the subject line and at the top of the main message.

200 words left

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Get Latest News in Your Inbox

Join the The Shetland Times mailing list to get one daily email update at midday on what's happening in Shetland.