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Emma Roddick visits Geilsland to Celebrate Lend an Ear Project’s Funding Renewal

Geilsland Estate welcomed an exciting guest today! Emma Roddick, the Minister for Equality at the Scottish Government, paid a visit to us today. The purpose of her visit was to meet with Alison Berry, the lead of the Lend an Ear Befriending service, and to celebrate the successful renewal of funding for the Lend an Ear project. This three-year funding extension comes from the Social Isolation and Loneliness Fund 2023-26. During her visit, Emma met with Alison, lend an ear volunteers and service users, delving into the fundamental impact of our Lend an Ear project on our local community’s battle against isolation and loneliness.


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Our Lend an Ear Befriending service has been a beacon of hope for the isolated and lonely community members of North Ayrshire for several years now. Founded with the vision of connecting people who often find themselves sidelined by social isolation, the project has flourished under Alison Berry’s guidance. The project aims to

 foster a sense of belonging and safety among individuals who might otherwise be grappling with feelings of solitude.


The renewal of funding for the Lend an Ear project via the Social Isolation and Loneliness Fund 2023-26 underscores the significant impact it has had on the community. This funding is a testament to the dedication and effectiveness of the Lend an Ear team in making a positive change to the lives of those who struggle with isolation and loneliness. With this support, the project can continue its crucial work, expanding its reach and making a lasting difference.


Emma Roddick’s visit to Geilsland emphasized the importance of initiatives like Lend an Ear in promoting inclusivity and addressing isolation. As the Minister for Diversity, Emma recognized the value of such efforts. One of the highlights of the visit was the opportunity for Emma to interact with the volunteers and service users who form the heart of the Lend an Ear project. Volunteers shared their experiences of making connections, offering companionship, and witnessing the transformative power of empathy. Service users, on the other hand, expressed their gratitude for the helping hand that Lend an Ear had provided them.


During Emma Roddick’s visit participants engaged in conversations about the positive impact of the Lend an Ear project, how they became involved and their hopes for the future of the project and it’s reach. These discussions reinforced the notion that addressing loneliness requires not only financial investment but also genuine human connection and support.

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The Lend an Ear project’s success story, coupled with the renewed funding support from the Social Isolation and Loneliness Fund, demonstrates the profound impact that community-driven initiatives can have. As we move forward, inspired by Emma and her team’s visit, let us remember that a simple act of lending an ear can bridge the gap between loneliness and connection, one conversation at a time.

If you’re interested in reading more about our Lend an Ear project, volunteering with our team, or making a referral, please complete this form or give us an email at

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