Insight shared from Big Lottery’s new funded projects

This week we announced the first grants made under our new five year £250 million funding scheme. 

ROAR- Connections for Life and the Scottish Drugs Forum  were two of the organisations sharing the £8 million funding and here share their insight on the differences the funding will make.


ROAR - Nic Hanssen image for blogNicola Hanssen, General Manager of ROAR – Connections for Life.

“This new funding will breathe new life into our innovative befriending ambitions, including our baby and dog befriending programme and our friendship outings. Going forward we will be able to both support more of those most in need and prevent others from becoming severely isolated sooner by linking them back into their communities.ROAR - 2 Christmas biscuits

“Our success in engaging more and more people is not only down to the warm and empowering culture that we foster in our groups and clubs, but in the way we respectfully engage with people who might be a bit resistant. This includes people like Helen, who is 86, and only left the house with her son because of her fear of falling.

“We were able to match Helen with a volunteer quite quickly and encourage her to come to the ‘Falls Prevention’ classes.

“She gained strength and confidence over the weeks that followed to the extent that she was able to take a taxi unaccompanied to our Christmas tea dance. She is now looking forward to making new friends through the Friendship outings.”

For more information go to the ROAR – Connections for Life website at



Chris Messenger, Senior Development Officer of the Addiction Worker Training Project at Scottish Drugs Forum.

KC409“The latest estimate is that there are almost 60,000 people with a drug problem in Scotland and there will be considerable more with an alcohol problem.
People in recovery can hold so much potential, but lack the opportunities afforded to most of us.  Working with Scottish Drugs Forum however, has shown me that the right kind of support can change everything.

A trainee post with Scottish Drugs Forum is the first step for many in to a meaningful career path, where one’s lived experience is seen as an asset.  Receiving a wage – sometimes for the first time – a year of supported work experience and vocational training has seen 140 of our trainee graduates secure full time work in Social Care.
Also, trainees make a monumental impact on the lives of people accessing services.  Our partners, who provide such vital support in placement opportunities, often tell us that their service users view our trainees as role models, beacons of recovery and living examples that lasting change is possible.

This funding will go a long way to helping us realise our goal in making sure as many people as possible can continue to benefit from this life-changing opportunity.”

For more information about Scottish Drugs Forum, visit their website.


Big Lottery Fund Scotland is committed to working with communities and organisations to support activity which is people centred, strength based and has good local connections.

One comment

  1. I done the AWTP in 2014 and managed to secure a really good job within the NHS after completing it. I hadn’t had a proper job before then that I was able to hold down. I am now on my third year within the Substance Misuse Directorate helping people who are in the same situation I once was. This has helped to change my life around and enabled me to experience life the same way as people without addiction/mental health issues.

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