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Highland Heroes 2024: Charitable organisation shortlist revealed – VOTE NOW!

By Leah Williamson

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Here is the shortlist for charitable organisation...

HALO Highland Action for Little Ones


HALO (Highland Action for Little Ones) has made a huge difference to the lives of so many struggling families right across the Highlands.

Set up in December 2022 with premises in Inverness and Dingwall, the charity provides children’s clothing, boots and shoes, nappies, and other essential items such as toiletries donated by local communities and businesses.

Halo puts together care packages for families in need who are referred to them by support agencies including schools and social services, ensuring the most vulnerable receive support quickly.

The team, all volunteers, work tirelessly from early morning to late evening doing collections and drop-offs.

A nomination said: “They are a great representation of the kind and caring community we live in within the Highlands. Their passion, drive, and determination to help those in need is truly inspiring.

HALO chief operating officer, Mel Thomson, was delighted with the nomination: “I’m absolutely amazed! I wasn’t even aware we’d been nominated. I’m thrilled. There are so many worthy charities in the Highlands and to be nominated alongside them, is humbling.”

Caithness KLICS

Caithness KLICS
Caithness KLICS

Being a carer is a huge responsibility but when the carer is a young person, the need for respite and just being a kid is absolutely vital.

Caithness KLICS (Kids Living in Caring Situations) offers support and respite for young carers in Caithness.

A nomination said: “They organise activities, events and trips to ensure that health and wellbeing needs are being met and that they get a chance to just be kids.”

The charity celebrated its 10th anniversary last year and for 2024, it is looking at increasing support by opening premises in Thurso and expanding its base in Wick.

On being shortlisted, charity co-founder and manager, Wendy Thain, said: “We’re absolutely delighted! It’s good to get some recognition that what we’re doing is good and what we’re doing is right. Even a couple of hours a day coming to us, hanging out with people in the same situation as them, and being able to chill and make friends takes a massive weight from them. It just lets them be kids.”

James Support Group

James Support Group
James Support Group

James Support Group has been praised as “a fantastic charity” that helps so many people trying to navigate the long road of suicide loss.

Patrick and Wendy Mullery, Cromarty, decided to set up the charity after they sought help to cope with their own bereavement but found none available. The couple lost their 28-year-old son, James, in 2017.

They have helped hundreds of people across the Highlands who have been bereaved by bringing them together with others who are struggling with their own mental health or have suicidal thoughts.

There are now monthly group meetings in Inverness, Dingwall, Invergordon, Thurso, Aviemore, Nairn, Elgin and Fort William and meetings can also be arranged in Ullapool and Grantown on Spey. One-to-one support can be offered and there is a 24/7 helpline.

A nomination said: “I lost my son to suicide in 2021. I didn’t know where to turn. When I found out about James Support Group it was a lifeline. It is a safe place to talk, share our thoughts, emotions.”

Patrick was proud the group had been shortlisted: “It’s really nice that people acknowledge what we’re doing, it’s great.”

New Start Highland

New Start Highland
New Start Highland

New Start Highland has helped transform thousands of lives since its inception in 2000. It supports people exiting or at risk of homelessness and those trying to move forward from a place of crisis. This could include domestic violence, mental health issues, unemployment or isolation and loneliness. In 2023, the charity served the local community over 120,000 times. It does this through a range of services including furniture provision, housing support and employability training.

James Dunbar, chief executive at New Start Highland, said: “To be shortlisted is a testament to all our hard-working team and volunteers, who constantly strive to help others. New Start Highland would not be what it is today without their contribution.

“I am really proud to be recognised for our efforts. But it could not be done without the support of our local community who help with their donations, be it furniture or time.”

The award for charitable organisation of the year is sponsored by W M Donald.

Director, Elaine Donald, said: "We're delighted to give our support and sponsorship to Highland Heroes once again. The awards are a wonderful way to give thanks to all the hard-working and generous people that do so much for others.

"Charities in particular give so much to their communities, raising money and supporting those who would really struggle without their help. We urge everybody to get behind Highland Heroes and vote for the amazing charities in their communities."

VOTE for your Highland Heroes NOW below

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