£24,000 grant will help Hawick church project reach out even further

Hawick Congregational Church treasurer Marion Underhill and development officer Geraldine Strickland.
Hawick Congregational Church treasurer Marion Underhill and development officer Geraldine Strickland.

A National Lottery grant of more than £24,000 has proved a godsend for a community project at a church in Hawick.

Hawick Congregational Community Church’s Reaching Out initiative is intended to help tackle social isolation and loneliness.

It started off by providing affordable lunchtime meals and companionship at the Bourtree Place church every Wednesday, but its immediate success led to other initiatives, including knitting and singing groups, following.

And now a £24,476 grant awarded by the National Lottery Community Fund Scotland will help pay for a programme of wellbeing activities for people feeling isolated and cut off from the community they live in.

A community support worker will also be on hand to help the housebound by offering regular visits, accompanying them to appointments and doing their shopping.

Geraldine Strickland, the church’s development worker, said: “This award will make a big difference in ensuring we can continue to deliver our many community-led activities.

“We are very grateful to the National Lottery for recognising the significant benefits that this will have for local people, especially those who are vulnerable, and we look forward to developing new approaches to help reduce isolation through a range of befriending activities.

“Basically, we want to reduce loneliness and isolation, and having the funding award, which is for three years, is going to make a tremendous difference to us and will enable us to provide our community activities, which are led by volunteers.

“We now have knitting, singing and friendship groups. We cover a range of activities and the people that come along really look forward to those groups.

“I think it’s a place where people enjoy coming.

“It’s a well-known community place in the town, and a lot of people now know about Reaching Out.”