A UNIQUE countryside project which helps to reach isolated men has been awarded a £70,000 funding boost.

The cash has come from the National Lottery, which has handed out more than £1m in funding to 34 community projects in Dorset.

Future Roots Ltd has received one of the biggest slices of the cash for its Countrymen’s Club project, which offers outdoor activities for isolated men.

The project, which is based on a 36-acre farm, works with men who are bereaved, suffer from dementia or have acquired brain injuries, who may have worked in farming or agriculture. They take part in activities such as craft, woodworking and growing produce outdoors and in the greenhouses. The project uses the environment to engage men in activities, offering them the company of male peers who may also suffer from rural isolation.

Julie Plumley, Director of Future Roots, said: “Thanks to The National Lottery funding we can continue to make a real difference to the lives of men who have become isolated because of deteriorating physical or mental health. Our project is about accessing the farm environment and socialising with others in order to have a positive impact on men’s lives and the lives of those who care for them.”

As reported, Relate Dorset received almost £200,000 for its Choose 2 Change project, which has developed a broad range of services to deliver family and young people’s counselling, work with armed forces personnel and supervise child contact sessions.

Other projects to get funding include:

  • Dorset Wildlife Trust for its Urban Green project (£173,953)
  • Lulworth and Winfrith Primary School for outdoor development (£10,000)
  • Dorchester Arts for the Sound Out Community Project (£9,999)
  • Volunteer Centre Dorset for Easy Pathways (39,960)
  • Weymouth and Portland-based Work4You for their Let's Work project (£9,720)
  • Shillingstone parish council to refurbish a community building (£8,987)
  • Dorset Cruse for its Somewhere to Turn project based in Weymouth and Portland (£8,735)
  • Purbeck-based Yorkshire Agoonoree (£7,500)
  • North Dorset-based The Ark (£4,650)
  • West Dorset-based Harmony (£4,200)
  • The Dorchester Trust for counselling and psychotherapy (£2,910)

The money is raised by National Lottery players and distributed by the National Lottery Community Fund.

Tom McCulloch, the organisation’s head of funding for the South West region said: “National Lottery money continues to change the lives of thousands of people across Dorset. From community-led projects that reduce loneliness and isolation to those looking at ways of tackling bullying amongst young people, tThis quarter’s funding has one thing in common – it’s all been awarded to groups with the ideas, knowledge and passion to make the changes they want to see in their local area.”