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Feeling whole again

October 19, 2017

Betty, 83, flexing her legs and arms in front of a body of waterOver 9 million people in the UK feel lonely or isolated, with loneliness more common among older people. However, National Lottery funding is bringing people such as Betty Parsons, 83, together, and helping them to lead happier and healthier lives. Here is Betty’s story…

“I was housebound for two years after suffering from a stroke.

I felt depressed about being stuck at home all of the time, but didn’t have the confidence to go out and see other people. All of that changed when I visited The Daffodil Club for the elderly.

I used to run a wee club myself after my husband died, but then I turned 80 and started to take not so well.

I regularly visited the doctors for injections and check-ups. During one of my visits, the nurse noticed my pulse was low and got a doctor to come and see me. He recommended I go to the hospital, but I didn’t want to go and asked if there was anything else he could do, so he gave me some medication instead.

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Young Start set for a refresh

October 17, 2017

Children and volunteer doing exercises on the floorThe Young Start fund will be pausing in early November. It’s now more than five years since Young Start first opened, so we are taking some time to review and reshape the fund. We plan to reopen the fund in Spring 2018, and will continue to distribute money from dormant bank accounts to fantastic youth-led projects across Scotland.

We will continue to accept applications up until noon on Tuesday 7th of November.

The application form is no longer available on our website. If you would like to apply, please get in touch with our friendly Advice Team to discuss your plans – on 0300 123 7110 or by emailing

We anticipate that there will be a lot of competition for grants before the pause and so have extended the turnaround time from application to decision from 8 to 12 weeks. If you are considering applying before the 7th of November, please note that we are only likely to fund projects where young people are strongly involved in the planning and delivery of the work.

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My time to shine

October 16, 2017

One in seven people in the UK often feel lonely*. David Leslie from Glasgow was just nine when he became a carer for his mother who had mental health problems. This made him feel lonely and isolated from other people his own age. Now four years later, David tells us how his life has changed, thanks to the support of the National Lottery funded Glasgow Association for Mental Health (GAMH) Young Carers project…

“I used to hang about in my street. My friends were horrible and nasty, calling me names and hitting me. School was across the road. No-one at school knew. They wouldn’t understand.

When my mum took ill the social workers said it would be good for me to get out and about. They told me about Young Carers and sent someone to the house to talk about it. I was thinking it would be fun to go and meet people. Sometimes I had to take care of mum when my brother was out. Then mum got really ill and my brother left home. I was on my own with my mum for a wee while, dad wasn’t living with us. I just got on with it, didn’t talk to anybody, just Young Carers.

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3 facts about Improving Lives funding

October 13, 2017

Young boy riding a toy trainAs we come up on two years since launching grants for Improving Lives, we’ve been looking back at this funding, and thinking about what’s worked well and what we could improve. We’ve looked at the data, spoken to customers and our own staff, and picked out three things that would be useful to know for anyone interested in applying to Improving Lives.

1. There’s much more competition for these grants

Compared to similar funds we ran before 2015, Improving Lives has been very busy! This means there’s a lot more competition for grants. If you are thinking of applying, here’s our top tips to improve your chances:

  • Apply for less than the maximum amount: the average level we have funded is around £120,000 for medium awards (that is, grants between £10,000 and £150,000), and around £390,000 for the large awards (or grants over £150,000).
  • Seek some match funding if you can, especially for the larger grants: although we can potentially fund 100% of a project, the pressure on our budgets means we prefer projects that will bring other funding to the table.
  • Apply for a shorter grant: our average grant length has been between three to four years. While we can fund up to five years, we are less likely to do this when competition is strong.

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Helping other women gives me a high

October 10, 2017

A headshot of Claire who is now a peer supporter at Pink Ladies 1stClaire overcame substance addiction, psychosis, paranoia and depression with the support of National Lottery funded Pink Ladies 1st. Now she uses her own journey to inspire other women with mental health issues in Midlothian…

“It all started when my substance misuse doctor offered me a place on a course with Pink Ladies 1st.

I had never went to a group in my community before and the thought was quite scary, so I refused to go for over a year.

Eventually, however, I thought that I needed to change my life. I had developed post-natal depression 21 years ago, which led to my psychosis, depression and suicidal thoughts. After being on speed every day for 14 years, it wasn’t a life worth living.

So I went to Pink Ladies 1st and started the course. I initially wanted to run out the room, but I forced myself to stay. Now I’ve been going for seven years – and been clean from substance misuse issues for the past five!

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