A mother from Dundee has told of her journey from alcoholism and drug abuse to award-winning volunteer in a powerful story showcasing the power of National Lottery funding.
Tammie Brown, 40, is a former addict who has turned her life around thanks to Link Up Whitfield, a National Lottery funded project which aids long-term improvements in health and wellbeing for people who pass through a point of crisis.
As one of an incredible 2,400 local people to participate in the north Dundee project since it was founded in spring 2018, Tammie has made the life-changing transition from her lowest point to winning the Make a Difference Award at the Dundee Volunteering Awards last year.
Now, after benefitting from the work of volunteers, she herself volunteers at numerous groups and is also training in peer support so that she can help people who are in a similar situation as to what she was in previously.
In the emotive new National Lottery Good Causes video, Tammie admits that Link Up Whitfield gave her the courage to change her life and that she would not have had the confidence to put herself forward for volunteering if the project hadn’t supported her.
Tammie said: “Before becoming involved with Link Up I was very erratic. 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.
“With the help of Link Up – even last year when I relapsed – I was supported the whole way through. They have helped to build me up and they are always there when I need them. Now I have a routine and am involved in lots of volunteering roles, I keep my time busy. Link Up gave me a lot so I try to give back.
“If people come in and see me and what I’ve managed to do then maybe they think they can do it too.”
Supported by The National Lottery, Link Up operates in nine communities across Scotland including Whitfield, with more than 17,000 people participating and 1,000 volunteering since its launch. The core activities are all informed by what local people say they want to see happening, many of whom, like Tammie, go on to volunteer themselves – Link Up Whitfield has 190 active volunteers to date.
Tammie added: “If it wasn’t for the funding 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 any confidence, I have worked on that and it’s all come back. I believe in myself more now.
“For me, Link Up is Whitfield. Link Up is a community, it’s building a community.”
Activities currently operating in Link Up Whitfield, designed by its participants, are: lunch club, gardening group, walking group, uneeklinx dance group, camera club, healthy me, craft group, cinema club, mens group, teenage group and a newly started parents group for those with children with additional support needs.
Link Up Whitfield programme manager Gill Bain added: “Tammie is a great example of someone who has come so far, from having little confidence and a lot going on in her life to taking those important steps forward.
“Our project is really about the individuals and all we want to do is help them in any way we can – just popping in for a coffee and a chat is as important as taking part in one of our groups.
“The support we received from the National Lottery is making a fundamental difference to the lives of people living in Whitfield. It is giving them hope and belief that things can change for the better, and is helping them to understand they can play a pivotal role in making this change happen for themselves, their family and others living in their community.”
More than 7,500 National Lottery grants have been invested into arts, heritage, sport and community projects in Dundee, Angus, Fife and Perth and Kinross since 1994.
To find out more visit the National Lottery Good Causes website or follow #ThanksTayYou on social media.