Dundee’s V&A museum opened last year to great fanfare, and has become a must-see attraction on Tayside.
It was built with the help of over £19m worth of National Lottery funding, and now other, lesser-known, lottery funded projects across the region are getting their time in the spotlight too.
The #ThanksTayYou series of short films is sharing the stories of individuals who have benefited from a selection of initiatives, from a 16-year-old boy who had his life transformed by the work of a motorcycle charity to a 92-year-old dancing queen who is maintaining her zest for life at a local 60+ entertainment project.
It’s aimed at showing the positive difference that National Lottery players, who every week raise £30 million for Good Cause projects, are making to their local communities.
Over 7,500 grants have been invested into arts, heritage, sport and community projects in Dundee, Angus, Fife and Perth and Kinross since 1994.
Lillian Malcolm, 68, who benefited from the work of ST/ART@DCA, is an inspiring example of how you can cope in the face of adversity and find new hobbies, interests and friendships thanks to local community projects and collaborative partnership working.
She said: “ST/ART gives people the opportunity to feel better about themselves by using art as a form of therapy. I do have more confidence, I’m prepared to do things I haven’t done before and enjoy a sense of achievement – it makes me feel good about myself and also makes me get out of the house.”
Inspirational 92-year-old Mabel Robertson, meanwhile, explained how friendships forged through the Nae Limits dance group now feel more like family.
She said they’ve helped her cope through a difficult time following the loss of her cousin.
“I’ve made so many more new friends here, people who would do anything for you to help you, anything,” Mabel said.
“You need them, and they are there. Believe you me, when I lost my cousin their support meant a lot to me.
“This is like an extended family I’ve got at Nae Limits, because they are always there for you no matter what. It would make a difference in my life if I didn’t have them there.”
Another group benefiting from National Lottery funding, Kingdom Off Road Motorcycle Club (KORMC), helped Kacper Gawlik, 16, go on a journey from being “in with the wrong crowd” and not attending school to a national championship competitor, club volunteer and now in employment.
Kacper said: “If you looked at me two, three years ago I was a totally different person. I didn’t go to school. Motocross has just changed me, it’s a passion, something I’ve always wanted to do and I’ve finally managed to take a step in the right way rather than the wrong way. This club is constantly giving me more motivation to keep going.”
First-time mother Kat Aitken, 48, described her transition from loneliness to confidence, when considering her baby’s future, thanks to support received from Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus (SBH) Scotland.
Kat said: “Without the support of SBH Scotland the journey would have been a lot different as we wouldn’t have known where to go or who to turn to.
“It’s changed my life and I’ve gone from being distraught and upset and feeling alone and feeling like the only person in the world who has a child with Spina Bifida, to having the confidence to be able to talk about it, meet families and realise that there are people out there that can help.”
23-year-old Ailsa Purdie was able to realise and fulfil her ambitions without having to leave the city she loves, thanks to V&A Dundee.
She said: “V&A Dundee being here has created a lot of opportunities for young people like me. Even the impact beyond the museum, it has all helped keep a lot of the creative talent and young people who would possibly have been going away otherwise.
“It has been a catalyst. I’ve always loved my city and been proud to be here but it’s so great to see people from outside of Dundee also seeing that now and realising how amazing the city truly is.”
Link Up Whitfield has supported Tammie Brown, 40, from alcoholism and drug abuse to award-winning volunteer.
“Before becoming involved with Link Up I was very erratic,” she explained.
“I have suffered with my own demons all my life with drug abuse and alcohol. I fell pregnant and my wee girl saved me because at that point I was a drunken alcoholic.
“If it wasn’t for the project it just wouldn’t have happened for me. I wouldn’t be the person I am now. I’ve got more self-worth. I didn’t have confidence, I have worked on that and it’s all come back. I believe in myself more now.”
Born 12 weeks prematurely, 21-year-old Gemma Lumsdaine was diagnosed with cerebral palsy which made her youth very challenging and left her with low self-esteem.
But her introduction to sport through Dundee Dragons Wheelchair Sports Club has changed all that and she has never looked back.
She said: “Sport has really given me something to aim towards. Dundee Dragons has changed my whole perspective and I wouldn’t have been able to get the opportunities I have without my disability so from having a negative perspective it’s completely changed everything for me.
“It’s changed my life and I’m so grateful for what they’ve done.”
Two Dundonians spanning 45 years in age have told of the common ingredient supporting their positive lifestyles – football.
Derek Brough, 60, and Owen McCartney, 15, spoke of the timely reminder of football’s ability to have a meaningful impact on the lives of locals they received through Dundee United Community Trust and DFC In The Community Trust.
Derek said: “For us, the main thing about the community trust is people going along and having a positive impact on the game of football and if we’ve helped promote that through the trust then it’s good for everybody.”
To find out more about local projects funded by The National Lottery visit: www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk or follow #ThanksTayYou.