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Inverness-based charity helping people in need awarded £60k from National Lottery Community Fund

By Federica Stefani

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New Start Highland Leadership Team. L-R, James Dunbar, Mairi Macaulay, Georgie Millar, Russel Rekhy, Marion Cordiner and Iain Herd.
New Start Highland Leadership Team. L-R, James Dunbar, Mairi Macaulay, Georgie Millar, Russel Rekhy, Marion Cordiner and Iain Herd.

New Start Highland, based in Inverness, has been awarded a £60,000 grant from the National Lottery’s Community Fund in aid of their critical support to those in need amidst the cost-of-living crisis.

The charity provides furniture and household items as well as providing a housing support service and an employment training programme,

James Dunbar, chief executive of New Start Highland commented: “Thanks to National Lottery’s Community Fund, this grant comes at a crucial time and means we can continue to deliver essential furniture and household goods throughout our local community.

"We make furniture available at low or no cost, depending on individual circumstances and this service is aimed at a growing number of people who are suffering considerably from the rising cost of living.

“Our drivers collect donated items from the public and these are cleaned, repaired and redistributed to those who have been referred to us by partner agencies or have self-referred. Our team is supported by a group of volunteers, many of whom have lived experience of suffering from poverty and the pressures of cost of living. This provides a unique insight into what our target group need and how our service is shaped to help them.”

He continued: “The Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s annual UK poverty report states that 6 million of the poorest people – those living in deep poverty – would need on average more than double their incomes to move out of hardship. Escaping poverty has never been more of a challenge and New Start Highland plays a part in trying to combat this across the Highlands.”

The fund, which exists to help communities across the UK, is raised by players of the National Lottery.

New Start Highland's services aim to enable individuals and families to mitigate the damaging effects of the cost of living crisis by providing much needed furniture and household items.

Knock on effects include improved mental health and easing the pressures and anxieties of day-to-day life.

Providing essential furniture and furnishings greatly enhances both their living conditions and quality of life, which in turn improves physical health and well being.

This provision is unique to the Highlands, with no other service providing no cost furniture and starter packs to people suffering in the cost of living crisis.

Additionally, New Start Highland’s housing support team deals with over 500 vulnerable Highland families each year.

A charity spokesperson said that over their 23 years running they found that communities located out with the Inverness city area often suffer higher levels of unmet need, principally due to their rural locality and a lack of access to services.

Its services help alleviate this with deliveries happening across Ross-shire, Caithness, Sutherland, Lochaber and the Isle of Skye.

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