A BEFRIENDING project is set to benefit from the Scotch Whisky Action Fund (SWAF).

The Men Befriending project, which is run by West Dunbartonshire Community and Volunteering Services (WDCVS), has been awarded continuation funding that will enable them to continue to support men.

The funding was first given in December 2018 for an initiative to reduce isolation and related alcohol abuse in men across West Dunbartonshire.

Selina Ross, chief officer of West Dunbartonshire Community and Volunteering Services, said: “The Men Befriending project has the capacity to be a really positive addition to the lives of men across West Dunbartonshire. Funding is so important to help innovative projects get off the ground and the SWAF were willing to take a chance on something that we believed would work well.

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“This additional funding provides the six months buffer the group needs to establish itself as an independent entity and get off to the best start.”

West Dunbartonshire CVS spotted a trend of befriending referrals for older men who had recently experienced isolation or loss, from bereavement or the loss of a job.

A number were also reporting concerns around their levels of drinking due to loneliness and isolation.

The Men Befriending project had an initial group of 28, who take part in 10-week group sessions. The social activities forged connections between like-minded individuals, increasing feelings of wellbeing.

Karen Betts, chief executive of the SWAF, said: “Now more than ever, it is hugely important to be supporting the projects that help to tackle the misuse of alcohol at a community level.

“It has been inspiring to see the impact that this initiative has made, and we are pleased to offer ongoing support via the Scotch Whisky Action Fund.”