1992 a group people including GP’s, Psychiatric Nurses, Consultant Psychiatrist, Social Workers, Housing Association
Director, Council on Alcohol, Community Advice Service, Council for Voluntary Organisations and other interested members of
the community, saw the need for a facility to provide support in the community for those suffering from mental health problems.
After becoming a registered Scottish charity and with the help of funding from the Highland Council and the Scottish
Government Mental Illness Specific Grant, the Skye and Lochalsh Mental Health Project began. Initially
the project secured a lease on the old Cabin restaurant in Bayfield, Portree. During the first 10 years
of the project, we became a company limited by guarantee, started an outreach project for South Skye and
Lochalsh and quickly began to outgrow The Cabin. In 2003 the now Skye and Lochalsh Mental Health Association
secured a lease on the Portree Backpackers Hostel. After some conversion and decoration work Am Fasgadh
(meaning the shelter )was opened in May of that year.
Association is now run by a Board of Directors still made up of several Local GP’s, Manager of the Council on Alcohol,
Director of the Local Housing Association and members who use the service. We also have advisors to the
board who include the Consultant Psychiatrist, Local Police Inspector, a local solicitor and our accountant. The association
remains completely independent and not part of any regional or national organisation. This is a real strength because we’re
able to make decisions based purely on local needs and on what our members want.
We are exceptional among mental health services in that,
through agreement with the Care
Commission, we are not regulated. This allows informality and open access and gives our
centre a home from home atmosphere that helps
people relax and accept support. We can
promise our members that we don’t keep files and records on them, which makes a huge
difference to people with
a long experience of formal psychiatric services.