Mental health charity New Horizons Borders is expanding its work thanks to a £5,200 grant from Lloyds TSB Foundation For Scotland.
The cash will be used to maintain the role of volunteer co-ordinator who will support members of the group to train to become volunteer facilitators for the drop-in sessions run across the region.
“The new job was created during a one-year trial whereby group members were trained to become facilitators and will bring benefits all round,” said service manager Lisa Archibald.
“This is a great way of getting people with mental health difficulties to do something really positive for themselves and to support other people in a similar position. Of course, the training, which includes adult protection, mental health first aid and suicide prevention, increases the skills of our volunteers and therefore their employment opportunities.
“Being able to take on responsibility for co-facilitating a drop-in is also a real measure of how much progress they have made.
“Recovery from mental ill-health can be very slow, and it is often difficult for people to feel they are making any progress, so for our drop-in members to be able to see one of their peers doing well enough to be able to facilitate the group is a great boost.
“We have run this programme for a year and are delighted that it has proved so successful we are able to keep it going.”
Mary Craig, chief executive of Lloyds TSB Foundation for Scotland, said: “New Horizons Borders is perfectly placed to understand what support local people with mental health problems need, as the charity is run by the people who use its services. Over 150 people are being supported across the Borders, and that gives a real feel for just how much need there is for this work.”
Local MP and Scottish Secretary Michael Moore is to meet the New Horizons Borders committee on February 24 regarding the collective advocacy campaign on the Welfare Reform Bill.