Bute ‘befriending’ scheme faces the axe

The future of the Bute Elderly Befrienders project has been secured until at least July 2016.
The future of the Bute Elderly Befrienders project has been secured until at least July 2016.

A ‘befriending’ scheme set up to help Bute’s vulnerable elderly residents has stopped taking new referrals after a funding bid was knocked back.

The Bute Elderly Befrienders project had applied to the Integrated Care Fund for Argyll and Bute - a Scottish Government programme divided across the country’s local authority areas - to continue and extend its one-to-one and peer befriending work.

The project - an offshoot of the long-established Cowal Elderly Befrienders scheme in Dunoon - has secured a short-term donation from local charity For Bute which will keep its existing services going until the end of January, but co-ordinator Duncan MacLeod said the decision, coming so close to Christmas and New Year, was “heart-breaking”.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said all funding decisions were “taken locally after careful consideration of how they will help to support and tackle locally identified health and social care priorities”.

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