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Since Islay Link Club was founded in 2000, we’ve helped individuals as they navigate through difficult times. We create a safe place where people can find the support they need through the power of connection.

When people are facing challenges, it’s helpful for them to be able to find support from others who understand exactly what they’re going through, and that’s what they’ll find at our Mental Health Support Group. We welcome you into a safe space where you can come and just be you.

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A bit of history about the club

The History of the Islay Link Club In 2009 a report entitled, “Are we fit as a fiddle or sick as parrots?” was presented to the community on Islay. Within the report a number of issues around mental health were identified. This information was used to feed into an ongoing consultation process at that time for the redesign of mental health services across Argyll. In response to the information gathered, A Dr Grace Ferguson proposed the idea of a Link club on Islay.In 2010, supported by Tina Jordan from ACUMEN, The Islay Link Club was formed and a steering group including: Carol Muir, Rose Keogh, David Muir, Cathie Thompson, Maureen Edwards, Deborah Rodgers, Sybil Pomeroy, Judie macNeill, Diane Campbell, Beth McEachern, Donald Gillespie. The first meeting took place at Islay Community Hospital, Bowmore on 25.05.2010. And several other meetings took place at different venues. One of the first decisions was to devise an online questionnaire survey to collect the views and thoughts from a wide range of people across the island about the purpose and aims of setting up an Islay Link Club with an overall goal of improving mental health services across Islay.

The feedback from the respondents of the survey was generally positive and identified positive ways in which the link Club could help improve access to information and facilitate more choices for group activities, which could benefit individuals and their families experiencing mental health problems and the wider community community. However, there were responses that were expressed negative views about the proposal.


In 2012 the Islay Link Club became a registered charity member with the Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO). Successful funding efforts enabled the group to have a paid coordinator- Tracy Hunter. She drove the project forward in terms of promoting the club, identifying training opportunities for members, networking with existing groups and networks, other agencies and services on Islay and beyond.

The Islay Link Club had regular input and support from Petra Pearce, TSI (third sector interface) and Tina Jordon from ACUMEN.

Training opportunities included; First Aid Mental Health and WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Plan) .

Sadly in long term chair person David Muir died and he was missed deeply by those who knew him through the Link Club. In 2018, Anna Taylor became chairperson and she has remained in this role since.

Health and wellbeing project

Part of the Scottish government’s recognition of the devastating impact that the Covid-19 pandemic had on individuals, families and local communities and services was the provision of funding to help rural and isolated communities. In 2021, the Government established the Communities Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund with £15 million allocated to support mental health and wellbeing in communities across Scotland. They appointed TSI (Third Sector Interfaces) to allocate the fund. And Argyll and Bute TSI were awarded £285,284.40 to distribute amongst third sector organisations across the region. The overarching aim of the fund is to support community-based initiatives that promote and develop good mental health and wellbeing. Addressing the mental health inequalities exacerbated by the pandemic and reducing distress.


The Islay Link Club joined forces with the Islay Resilience Group and the newly formed Health and Social Care Partnership (renamed Islay Connections in Jan. 2023) in planning for and submitting a bid for funding. Our joint project’s main aim is to engage and facilitate a thorough and meaning full consultation with the communities of Islay. The initial phase includes, 1) To deliver a comprehensive and meaningful community consultation focussing on the mental health and wellbeing of the community, 2) To develop a strategic local plan, devised from the evidence gathered from talking to and consulting with as many Islay folk as possible. Identifying health and social care needs, gaps in services, what’s working well, what needs to change. 3) To devise an action plan that informs future development and implementation of services across Islay. This initial phase will be led by and carried out by a self employed researcher.


Our joint bid was successful and we were awarded £18100.00 in February 2022. We were able to recruit and were extremely fortunate to employ a highly experienced and skilled researcher into post-Jean MacLellan, who lives and has family on Islay. Jean started her research work in July 2022. She has met with individuals, families, groups across Islay. Jean has consulted with individuals who are responsible for running statutory and third sector services on Islay, health and social care staff, teachers, G.P’s.

Jean has now collated all the evidence gathered and is in the process of presenting the information into a formal report, which she will be presented to the Islay Link Club and Islay Connections committees for ratification. Keep an eye out for Jean’s blog about her work so far and plans for the future.

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