Branching Out Funding Announcement We are delighted to announce that we will receive a National Lottery award of £100,000 from The National Lottery Community Fund to support our Branching Out project. Scottish Forestry have also contributed £12,000 to the project. We will use the award to continue our Branching Out project for two years providing programmes of woodland based activities and peer support to help participants overcome mental health issues caused by loneliness, isolation, and stigma. Branching Out is an initiative developed by Scottish Forestry which supports residents referred locally from NHS Community Mental Health teams through 12 weekly sessions of supported activities. Each session is a 5-hour day in the woods in all weathers and can include building shelters, green woodworking, bush craft, tool use, conservation activities, gentle exercise, cooking on campfires and environmental art. In Argyll and Bute, ACT invites graduates of the Branching Out programmes to join more progressive Moving On projects which provide opportunities to take control of activities, continue engagement with the outdoors and deepen social ties and connections. The additional funds required for Moving On programmes are not yet confirmed, but ACT is hopeful that their strong track record and evidence of positive outcomes will help to secure the investment required. The new funding from The National Lottery Community Fund, which distributes money raised by National Lottery players for good causes and is the largest community funder in the UK, will contribute to two years of Branching Out programmes in 4 areas across Argyll and Bute. Sara Maclean, co-ordinator of the Branching Out project in Argyll, said: "We are really looking forward to working with our partners again to make a difference to people’s lives.” Nathalie Moriarty, Branching Out Manager for Scottish Forestry said: "We are delighted with this excellent news on Big Lottery funding to keep the Branching Out momentum going in Argyll. Scottish Forestry has been thoroughly impressed at the enthusiasm ACT and their Branching Out delivery team have shown over the first three years of providing this life changing project. This new funding will be a lifeline to the people struggling with their mental health. I am certain of the positive outcomes and changes the project will make not only to their mental health, but also to the breadth of new skills they will learn and take with them into the future." The National Lottery Community Fund Scotland Chair, Maureen McGinn, said: "I am delighted that ACT has been successful in securing a grant from The National Lottery Community Fund. The award will make a big difference where it is needed most and I wish ACT every success as it goes on to develop and expand its project for the benefit of their local community."