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National Lottery funded mental health project helped save my life

The National Community Fund announces £12 million to Scottish groups

A single father from Drumchapel has welcomed news of a £138K National Lottery grant to Men Matter Scotland, a mental health charity that helped save his life.

Andrew McAlister from Men Matter Scotland

The group, which supports men with suicidal thoughts and mental health issues is one of 302 community projects across Scotland today (WEDNESDAY 11 MAY) sharing in over £12m from The National Lottery Community Fund. A full list of projects is attached.

Two people die by suicide every day in Scotland* and statistics from 2020** show that men accounted for over 70% of deaths that year.

Men Matter Scotland are helping to change some of the traditional stereotypes around mental health, giving men the chance to come together in a positive and supportive environment; allowing them the time and space to talk, with no judgement. The charity only launched their hub and peer support service two years ago and, since that time, membership has already risen to 1300 with around 50 joining every month from all over Scotland.

An award of £138,873 will allow Men Matter Scotland to continue their life changing support service for the next three years helping hundreds of men like 34-year-old Andrew McAlistair from Drumchapel. Andrew said: “I lost my dad from a heart attack at a very early age – I was four. I didn’t think it affected in my life, but it did. I was a scheme boy and from my mid teenage years I was always drinking at the weekend and soon I moved on to drugs.”

Andrew stopped drinking and taking drugs when his son was born in 2012 but after splitting from his partner he went on a downward spiral again and attempted to take his own life. He said: At that point I just thought it would be better for everyone, especially my son, if I wasn’t here and I tried to end it all. The bad just outweighed the good and I couldn’t see any good at all.

After a chance meeting with Gregor from Men Matter Scotland, at an after-school club for dads, Andrew started to open up and talk about his feelings. He now volunteers with the group and said: “It’s amazing to me that talking is like such a little thing but can have such a big effect on your life. Whoever comes through our doors never needs to feel alone again. Men Matter Scotland has given me a better life and without them I really don’t think I would be still here, and my boy wouldn’t have a dad”

D-I Brown, Vice Chair, Men Matter Scotland, said:

“This National Lottery funding is game-changing for us. It allows us to build on the great work the team has been doing to get men to talk about their mental health, something that is somewhat stigmatised in the West of Scotland. Knowing we have regular funding allows us to plan in a much more effective way and will help us build consistent services.”

Announcing the funding during Mental Health Awareness Week, The National Lottery Community Fund’s Scotland Chair, Kate Still, said:

“This funding announced today will not only help improve the lives of thousands of people in communities across Scotland but also people who are struggling with mental health issues that impact their daily lives. It’s so important that stories like Andrew’s are told as they help to chip away at the stigma that still surrounds this issue, particularly when it comes to men sharing their feelings or showing any weakness.”

“National Lottery players can be very proud that they are helping to support this vital work.”

The National Lottery Community Fund distributes funding on behalf of National Lottery players who raise more than £30 million each week for good causes throughout the UK.

Thanks to National Lottery players, last year we awarded over half a billion pounds (£588.2 million) of life-changing funding to communities across the UK. Over eight in ten (83%) of our grants are for under £10,000 – going to grassroots groups and charities across the UK that are bringing to life amazing ideas that matter to their communities.

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