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20/08/13 10:26

Backing Scotland’s charities

Further £1.9 million for health projects.

Firemen in Lothian and Borders are being taught about the symptoms of bowel cancer, after Scotland’s charities received a share of an increased funding scheme.

The Scottish Government has awarded £1.9 million to almost 100 charities for 2013, from the Scottish Third Sector 16b fund, which is an increase of 55 per cent on last year.

The funding will support both small and large national charities, such as Action for ME, Downs Syndrome Scotland and National Aids Trust, to deliver a range of health projects, support service and advice at the heart of local communities.

Minister for Public Health Michael Matheson made the announcement while visiting Galashiels Fire Station, where Bowel Cancer UK have teamed up with the fire service in Lothian and Borders to run a series of workshops with firemen to raise awareness of the importance of early detection of bowel cancer.

Mr Matheson said:

“Voluntary sector organisations are playing an increasingly important role in health and social care – both as providers of services, and as advocates and campaigners for those in our communities who have the greatest need.

“As part of our commitment to back Scotland’s thriving voluntary sector, I am delighted to announce that we are supporting these charities and their health projects on the ground to make a real difference through targeted health initiatives.

“This funding will further strengthen our voluntary sector to achieve real and tangible health outcomes for Scottish people.

“These projects will deliver a range of new and different approaches to health and wellbeing – from helping people to make healthy lifestyle choices to supporting those living with health conditions or illnesses by offering professional help, advice and peer support.

“The Bowel Cancer UK partnership with the fire service in Lothian and Borders is a fantastic example of how this money is funding vital projects. We know that early detection of cancer saves lives, and this initiative will help raise awareness of the need for it to be picked up early.”

Sarah Porch, Director of Services for Bowel Cancer UK said: “We are delighted to receive this important funding which will help Bowel Cancer UK continue its work to raise awareness of bowel cancer and provide practical information and support to community groups and workplaces throughout Scotland.

“Early diagnosis of bowel cancer in Scotland is crucial as it saves lives. That’s why encouraging people to recognise the symptoms of the disease, act on their concerns, and to take part in the bowel screening programme - is so important.

“So far, Bowel Cancer UK have delivered its Bowel Cancer Awareness presentation to a total of 290 firemen and women across 21 stations in Lothian and the Borders. The feedback to date has been uniformly positive, with 100 per cent of attendees saying they are now more aware of the symptoms and risk factors for bowel cancer, and now would go to visit their GP if they experienced symptoms.”

Another of the charities benefiting from the funding is LGBT Health and Wellbeing, which works to address the health inequalities experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in Scotland. Its provides a range of services and initiatives which tackle the social isolation and health inequalities of one of Scotland’s most marginalised communities.

Maruska Greenwood, Director, LGBT Health and Wellbeing said:

“We warmly welcome this funding award from the Scottish Government which will enable us to do some groundbreaking work around the issues facing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people with learning disabilities.

"Whilst society becomes generally increasingly more accepting, there is still an acute lack of recognition and understanding of same-sex relationships and transgender identities when it comes to people with learning disabilities. Many LGBT people with learning difficulties may have additional needs or face particular barriers in expressing their identity and developing relationships.

“This funding will enable us to both provide social opportunities for individuals, but also to stimulate more dialogue around some of those issues and work with learning disability services to support them in better meeting the mental, emotional and sexual health needs of LGBT people with learning disabilities.”

Notes to editors

Photographs and a full list of the organisations receiving funding will be available on request.