Wheatley to help people play more active role in their community with new £500,000 fund

Kevin Stewart Foundation_1504797319_12A new £500,000 investment to tackle poverty and inequality and build stronger communities has been launched by housing minister Kevin Stewart.

The Scottish Government has joined forces with the Wheatley Foundation, the charitable arm of Wheatley Group, to support a suite of new local initiatives aimed at involving people in designing services to meet their needs.

The services, being funded through a £250,000 grant from the government with match funding from Wheatley Foundation, include: money advice and budgeting support in central Scotland and exercise, art and language classes for older and vulnerable people in Edinburgh and the Lothians.

The funding will have a positive impact within communities as it will prioritise services that local people say they need. It is hoped that through participation in activities people will work together to build stronger communities.

Mr Stewart was shown taster sessions of the activities which will be supported through the investment during a visit to the Gracemount community centre in Edinburgh.

The centre itself will be given £45,000 through the partnership to help pay for a new purpose-built facility for the community.

The minister said: “Our partnership with the Wheatley Foundation is firmly based on listening to communities and delivering what they feel is a priority for them. I am delighted to be here to see the community centre and take part in some of the taster classes designed to help people who feel lonely or socially isolated meet new people, develop new skills and build up their confidence.

“We are committed to tackling poverty and inequality and specifically targeting areas of deprivation to use our investment to make the greatest difference in improving people’s lives.”

Wheatley Foundation Board member, Mary Mulligan, said: “We are thrilled to become a strategic partner of the Scottish Government as we continue our work to tackle poverty and improve lives in Scotland.

“The services enabled through this partnership will make a huge difference to some of our country’s most vulnerable and excluded people.

“Classes like these will tackle low levels of activity and boost community and social participation, decrease loneliness and boost people’s health and self-esteem.”

The Wheatley Foundation, launched last year, is Wheatley Group’s charitable trust. Chaired by leading public health expert and former Chief Medical Officer, Sir Harry Burns, it aims to target poverty and social exclusion.

It has committed to invest £3 million per year to improve the life opportunities of Wheatley customers, with the aim of helping up to 7,000 people by the end of its first year.

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