‘PST deserve to win’ – so says the Cairdean as voting deadline looms

One of the biggest social groups for the elderly in the Hebrides have given their full backing to Point and Sandwick Trust as the deadline approaches for members of the public to vote in this year’s Scottish Charity Awards.

We have been shortlisted in this year’s Charity Awards, in the Celebrating Communities category.

As a finalist, we are also up for the People’s Choice award – and members of Cairdean Og Allt nan Gall have been voting for us online, in recognition of the work we do to support community causes, including the Cairdean’s own activities which help ward off social isolation among the elderly.

In December, the Cairdean received £1000 from PST towards their Christmas party. They received a further sum of £880 recently which is going towards the costs of their summer holiday to the mainland and the hire of the Ionad Stoodie hall in Point for their monthly get-togethers.

Cairdean chair Duncan Don said that, as far as he was concerned, Point and Sandwick Trust should “absolutely” win the People’s Choice award. “Our Cairdean Og Group all think that they would be a worthy winner in this category because not only have they donated a generous sum of money to our Group but also to others in the community.”

The Awards are run but the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations and the shortlist includes 40 individuals and organisations from across the third sector. To vote for PST in the People’s Choice Award, go online at www.scvo.org.uk/vote by Friday, May 18.

Duncan Don appealed: “Check out what the Point and Sandwick Trust has given to others since their inception. Local projects and groups have all benefited greatly from their financial assistance.”

He was referring to our huge raft of grant aids and sponsorships, from the annual £55,000 to Bethesda Care Home and Hospice and other big donations to the likes of the Hebrides Alpha Project, which helps people recover from drink and drug addictions, down to the myriad of small donations such as £200 to the Point Brownies, which helps keep them afloat too. 

We pour all the profits – expected to be £900,000 this year – from Beinn Ghrideag, just outside Stornoway, back into the community as the wind farm is 100 per cent community-owned.

It took us around 10 years to turn our renewables charity dream into reality. The charity was set up in 2005 and our three turbines finally began generating power in November 2015, as there were many difficulties to overcome.

Now, though, it is the largest community-owned wind farm in the UK in terms of output, generating nine megawatts from its three turbines, and has already won award from the renewables industry – Best Community Project in the Scottish Green Energy Awards in 2015 – as well as plaudits for its high technical performance. 

Duncan Don added: “They deserve to win not only for themselves but for our community too when you consider all the hurdles which they have overcome to achieve their current goals.

“In view of what the PST have done it would be a travesty if others could not follow their lead and allow the rest of the island to benefit in a similar way.”

All the winners will be announced at the Awards ceremony on June 14, hosted by Sally Magnusson and held at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre. 

Angus McCormack, Chair of Point and Sandwick Trust, said: “We are so pleased to be recognised by the Scottish Charity Awards, even more so for our shortlisting in the Celebrating Communities category, and are very thankful to the Cairdean for their words of support. 

“As a Trust we built and operate the UK’s biggest 100 per cent owned community wind farm for the express benefit of our local community and the wider Western Isles.”

A wee round of applause from the Cairdean after PST’s latest grant support and award shortlisting


Support for groups battling social isolation is a top priority

We are committed to supporting Cairdean Og Allt nan Gall, and other community groups working to combat social isolation, with regular donations and moral support.

The Cairdean are one of the biggest and longest-running groups for the elderly on Lewis, with 66 members ranging in age from 60 to around 90. Their monthly get-togethers in Ionad Stoodie are usually attended by around 40 folk, and they hold special event such as Christmas parties as well as a summer trip to the mainland every year. 

Cairdean chair Duncan Don stressed how much the Cairdean needed the financial support – and how much the elderly of Point needed the Cairdean.

“Had it not been for Point and Sandwick Trust, we would be struggling to get money. To be honest, if it wasn’t for our group, a lot of people in our group wouldn’t be able to do anything – because there’s absolutely nothing else provided in the Point area. That’s what makes a difference and that’s why Point and Sandwick support us.”

This year, the Cairdean are heading for Perth where they will be holidaying from June 4 to 7, with around 40 going. The Salutation Hotel will be their base for trips, including visits to Scone Palace and the Black Watch Museum. They have their favoured stops along the road, too – “we never go past House of Bruar” – and enjoy meals and a ceilidh together in the evenings. 

Duncan Don said the trips were always fantastic  – “we’re all very keen on travelling, on going away, even if it’s just three nights” – and said the financial support made all the difference. 

“Point and Sandwick Trust have been a real saviour as far as we’re concerned. We’re having to generate a lot of money ourselves and we have a lot of members in our group who are not really fit to do any fundraising but love to come along once a month.”

Without that £640, which covered an unforeseen increase in the cost of coach hire, some members of the Cairdean would have had to put in even longer shifts bag packing or organise an extra soup and pudding lunch.

We also gave them a further £240, which covered their monthly hire of the Ionad Stoodie community hall in Point. “They’ve covered it for a year,” said Duncan Don. 

“Point and Sandwick are an absolute delight. They are all people you can talk to and they’re always there to help, wherever they can.”

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