MORE than £400,000 has been distributed in Clacks and Stirling communities to tackle mental health and wellbeing issues arising from the pandemic.

The funding of £412,015 went to community groups and organisations to provide activities and was distributed by Clackmannanshire Third Sector Interface (CTSI) in partnership with Stirlingshire Voluntary Enterprise (SVE) as part of the TSI Scotland Network.

The money was being distributed last week and one of the various groups benefiting is C-Change, which runs the Dates 'n' Mates project in the area.

Funding will help support people with learning disabilities and Carolyn Dick, regional manager, explained just how much the financial support means.

She said: "The funding will enable us to develop our project which operates successfully in Falkirk already, in two new communities.

"Giving more people living with a learning disability the opportunity to choose how they socialise in their communities.

"Everyone should have the opportunity to meet new people and create meaningful connections, friendships and relationships and our work aims to achieve that."

The main bulk of the money came from a £15million Scottish Government funding pot announced at the start of November, which went out directly to third sector interfaces.

TSIs were put in charge to distribute the cash to grassroots organisations in their areas and the two in Clacks and Stirling worked together to quickly open the fund and process applications.

Anthea Coulter, chief officer at CTSI, said: "The two TSIs work closely together and were able to move quickly to develop a plan for the distribution.

"One of the key elements of the fund was developing a steering group which we did and our thanks goes to our public sector partners in health and our two respective councils, and also members of our local communities with live experience that represent mental health and carers."

Two levels of grants were offered at £5,000 and £10,000 with more than 100 applications received in just a few weeks.

In total £345,800 of large grants have been given to 29 organisations and a further £66,215 of small grants went to 21 smaller organisations.

Anthea added: "The Scottish Government asked us to ensure that the funding went to specific groups that have been hardest hit by the pandemic, but we were also able to add to that list with our own identified priority groups locally."

It is understood the TSI Scotland Network has been given a clear indication that the fund will be distributed again by the Scottish Government in the next financial year.

CTSI and SVE are looking forward to discussing potential work and projects with communities at the earliest opportunity.

Clacks groups can visit for more information.