Depression charity raises spirits after clinching award

A DEPRESSION charity that faced closure because of a funding crisis is celebrating after winning a reprieve.

The founders of Pink Ladies, which helps women suffering from depression and anxiety, had warned it could be wound up.

But it has now been told it will receive another year’s funding from the Scottish Government’s Long-Term Conditions Alliance Scotland (LTCAS).

The Midlothian-based charity is also celebrating after receiving an award for Outstanding Achievement of the Year from LTCAS.

Co-founder Sheila Peaston said she hoped some of the people who had already benefited from the support of Pink Ladies would now be able to help others.

She said: “We hope to train some Pink Ladies, people who have done the course with us, and they will be facilitators and take over running the courses in Midlothian and we will move further afield, to Edinburgh or wherever.

“We’ll also have a look at other groups helping women who are on the streets, because we deal with a lot of alcohol and substance abuse at the moment and we’d like to look at repeat offenders as well, women who are repeatedly having short prison sentences, and seeing what the alternatives are.”

The charity, which has a permanent waiting list, runs relaxed, friendly courses to boost confidence, help people manage their condition and provide female companionship and guidance.

Women can be referred by GPs, social work departments and other agencies, or can contact the charity directly themselves. During the 18 months covered by its previous grant from LTCAS, Pink Ladies helped more than 200 women.

Organisers first warned in April this year that the charity may have to close by June, when funding ran out, but it has been supported in the short term by other sponsors, including Pfizer and the Fairer Scotland Fund.

Ms Peaston said she was delighted it was now more secure for the future. She said: “We had three or four months where we just didn’t know where the next penny was coming from. We want to be in a position where we can look to the future and plan ahead.

“It’s absolutely wonderful. We’re so overwhelmed sometimes by the women we deal with – at their honesty, their tenacity, their ability to pick themselves up after all that’s happened and change their lives around.

“It’s really rewarding. We just feel there are so many women experiencing anxiety, depression and mental health problems and there’s really not the support in the community for them.”

Ms Peaston and the charity’s co-founder Maria Martin picked up their award from LTCAS at a Scottish Parliament reception on October 4.