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Caithness Voluntary Group

06 October 2015

Caithness Voluntary Group (CVG) is the area Third Sector Interface in Caithness. It employs staff to deliver various projects. CVG covers the entire county including Latheron, Lybster & Clyth, Tannach & District and Watten CC areas which benefit from the E.ON Camster Community Fund. Its Befriending project has one part-time member of staff, the Befriending Coordinator, who manages the project, volunteer Befrienders, and registered Befriendees.

The Befriending project delivers a service to both Befrienders and Befriendees acting as a matching service between the two. Befrienders and Befriendees are matched according to interests and compatibility to ensure that both parties have a beneficial experience. Befrienders are encouraged to volunteer for at least one hour per week but in reality the time required tends to be around two and a half hours per week. The length of time spent with a Befriendee varies according to the activity and longer visits are required if the Befriendee/Befriender go out on trips etc.

Befrienders come from all walks of lives whilst the befriendees are generally isolated adults in the community. The project is viewed as a much needed services enabling the local aging community to live not only a better life but also a happier and more socially connected one. As such the project also receives referrals from social services and health professionals.

CVG applied is to the E.ON Camster Community Fund for a £15,000 grant to part fund the existing Befriending Coordinator and part fund a new Befriending Assistant for 2015/16. This would allow the project to increase its capacity, recruit and train more Befrienders and match them to more Befriendees.

The total cost of the project for one year was £44,088. CVG planned to fundraise and hoped to attract match funding from various other sources including a large percentage from the public sector to bridge the funding gap.

However, the public sector match funding proved to be unobtainable. Despite this setback CVG managed to secure 5-years match funding from BIG for an expanded project, employing a further 2 people (as well as the coordinator).

Angie House, the Befriending Project Coordinator, said the £15,000 awarded from the E.ON Camster Community Fund proved crucial to helping CVG leverage a larger funding package and allow them to expand the project to benefit the whole of Caithness. “Although the award from the E.ON Camster Community Fund only covered part of the costs for one year, the additional BIG funding will allow the project to be more sustainable and support us over a 5 year period both in the Fund area and the wider Caithness community. “

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