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It's good to talk: cafe chat project reaching Lochalsh toasts lottery boost

By Federica Stefani

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Weaving class at Cafe Chat.
Weaving class at Cafe Chat.

A HIGHLAND charity has been granted more than £14,500 from a national health trust for their efforts to tackle isolation in remote areas, including parts of Ross-shire.

Counselling Care: Skye and Lochalsh have been awarded the funding by People’s Health Trust with money raised by Health Lottery Scotland for their Café Chat project.

The initiative aims to give members of the local community the chance to meet weekly and try new activities, in a social and friendly environment where they can come together and learn whilst overcoming isolation.

The weaving class was very popular.
The weaving class was very popular.

Diane Van Ruitenbeek, who coordinates the project, said: "It has been really great to see how enthusiastic the community is to get stuck in and try out the new activities we have been offering.

"Some of our members have dementia and having a regular community group to come to is vital for their health and wellbeing.

"Café Chat has helped to bring the community together to support one another. Many of the activities on offer have been suggested by our members and we have worked in partnership with other local organisations to provide a varied programme.

"We have also arranged excursions to neighbouring towns and visitor attractions. It’s been fantastic to be collaboratively working together to promote what is on offer to local residents.”

The vital funding has enabled the project to provide an enjoyable activity every week for those who are in need of companionship with the activities on offer including tai chi, yoga, gardening, quizzes, a book club, spinning, and weaving classes.

The latter, which proved proved to be very popular, provided Café Chat members with an opportunity to learn about the craft, and to weave fish and baskets made out of the willow grown on the island.

Martin Ellice, joint managing director of The Health Lottery, said: “It is great to see just how important Café Chat has been for local residents in need of some extra support and companionship. There is a great sense of community with this project, which is very heart-warming.

The funds raised by Health Lottery Scotland continue to support local projects, with more than £10.8 million raised to support 278 projects to date in the region.

To date, over £112 million has been raised through The Health Lottery to support local charities across England, Scotland and Wales.

Anyone interested in the project can contact info@slcvo.org.uk.

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