Six projects aiming to reduce the number of drug-related deaths in North Ayrshire have been awarded funding grants of between £8k and £10k in an initiative run by North Ayrshire Drug and Alcohol Partnership.

A number of community groups and organisations submitted applications for funding after the launch of ‘The Substance of our Communities’ participatory budgeting scheme in late February.

An online poll earlier this month saw members of the public vote for which of the shortlisted projects they’d most like to see funded in their communities, and the applications that received the most votes and therefore will be awarded funding are as follows

Arran Youth Foundations

Locality: Arran

Funding granted: £10,000

Arran Youth Foundations will use the funding to provide drug and alcohol services for young people on Arran. This is a hidden problem on Arran, with few places for young people to turn and some services only available on the mainland.

They will do this through working with young people and partners to achieve the best outcome for affected young people. As the only youth work organisation on the island, AYF work with the majority of young people of high school age. Through these relationships, they are well placed to support young people with substance misuse problems.

Café Solace, Kilbirnie

Locality: Garnock Valley

Funding granted: £10,000

Café Solace is a community approach to supporting and reinvigorating people in recovery and ex-offenders with peer support via a community café. The café also allows the elderly and vulnerable, the lonely, and those with limited funds to come together once a week for a low cost, home cooked 3-course meal.

Café Solace Kilbirnie is a safe place for volunteers to be open about their past and receive support to achieve a better future. People work at their own pace and achieve a sense of purpose and confidence, while being supported in their recovery from substance use.

Café Solace, Irvine

Locality: Irvine, Kilwinning, Three Towns

Funding granted: £10,000

Funding will be used to help the Cafe Solace team continue to realise their ambitions for the group. It will enable them to become increasingly self-sufficient and expand their work in North Ayrshire, inviting others into a healthy, recovery-friendly environment.

Café Solace are community cafés run by people who have been affected by addiction. Aiming to champion recovery in North Ayrshire, the cafés allow people to “give something back” to the community, their families and themselves. The cafés provide a safe and welcoming place for social networks to be created and provide community support and service information.

Teen Challenge and Grub and Gospel (Joint application)

Locality: Irvine, Kilwinning, Garnock Valley, 3 Towns

Funding granted: £8,000

Funding will be used to advise, inform and support people suffering from addiction to know that recovery from drug and alcohol addiction is possible, as well as liaising with other recovery and rehab initiatives, supporting applications to residential rehab and creating opportunities for those seeking recovery to meet those people who are role models of successful recovery.

Irvine Team Challenge has been running weekly for 12 years and has spawned both Grub and Gospel and Care and Share (additional addiction support initiatives). During that time they have supported a number of people in gaining access to residential Christian rehabilitation centres and provided a safe environment for people.

North Ayrshire Executive Youth Council

Locality: North Ayrshire wide

Funding granted: £10,000

Young people emphasised the need for a resource that was instantly accessible, 24/7, and with young people at the core of creation and delivery.

The project will lead a working group of young people and professionals to create meaningful and appropriate content in short and snappy blogs, animated videos and custom-made workshops. The themes will cover the issues that young people and professionals mutually agree on.

The project will bring together the Youth Executive, the Charlie Programme, Care Experienced Young People and local secondary schools, along with professionals including NHS, police and Barnardo’s.

Onside Ayrshire CIC – Extra Time Project

Locality: Irvine, Kilwinning, Garnock Valley, Three Towns, North Coast

Funding granted: £8,010

This consortium approach will respond to people in recovery who have requested ‘Extra Time’ to discuss the impact of their lived experiences on their families and how to support each other following a recent street Valium drug related death. The project will enable people in recovery to engage with their families to build resilience and enhance communication, and will provide opportunities that foster family cohesion.

People in recovery have indicated that they would like to explore how their lived experiences have impacted upon family life and how best to empower families when supporting a family member with lived experiences not to relapse.

The Substance of Our Communities was the latest in a series of participatory budgeting events that allow members of the public to have a say on how funds are distributed in their area.

For more information about how to access addiction services in North Ayrshire, visit