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  • Vote of confidence for unique Fife approach to tackling loneliness

    Created: 08/11/2021

    Fife Alcohol Support Service (FASS) Curnie Clubs will be helping lonely and isolated adults back into communities across Fife for another three years, thanks to funding through the National Lottery Community Fund.

    The Curnie Clubs - Curnie is a Scots word for a small gathering - run small social groups running across Kirkcaldy, Glenrothes, Methil, Leven, Cupar and Cowdenbeath.

    During lockdown, the Clubs were helping socially isolated people by holding online groups -  taking part in a whole menu of social, therapeutic and creative activities. Members supported each other in a friendly, understanding and empowering place. One Member stated “My GP asked me why he hadn’t heard from me for such a long time when I’m usually at the surgery regularly. I told him I’d been going to the Curnie Club and am feeling very different.” More recently, another member said, “They’ve been a real lifesaver.”

    Loneliness and isolation were recognised as being major public health issues across Scotland before the pandemic hit. Often, however, services have been focused on older or younger people, with those in middle age ranges left to fend for themselves. COVID-19 has highlighted that people of all ages can suffer greatly from isolation and need help from the community.

    Scotland Chair of The National Lottery Community Fund, Kate Still, commented: “In these uncertain times, our priority is to ensure that National Lottery money continues to flow to charities, voluntary sector organisations and grassroots groups. I would like to congratulate FASS on their award, theirs is an important project and will support people now and in the future when they can physically come back together to make great things happen in their community.”

    Donald Grieve, Curnie Clubs Project Manager, added: “This is great news. People who have become severely isolated often need more than befriending to help rejoin communities. This funding allows staff trained in counselling skills and using therapeutic approaches, alongside friendship in the Clubs, to support Members’ journeys."

    “It’s important that we’re not complacent at this time though. People need us more than ever since lockdown. We have the basics to support our Clubs in place. We’re now looking for match funding to ensure counselling, our Curnie Volunteer service and other resources are secure. Our Members are often afraid to visit public places or use public transport when they come to us. They need to be able to practice these skills, with the right support, at the right time and in the right place. We can get them back to communities of their choice, whether that’s social, volunteering, education or employment."

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