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TAG Highland Open Day

Issued: 22 Nov 2010

A European funded project providing training and support to people with mental health problems to help them return to work or further education has moved to new premises in Inverness.

TAG Highland, which is led by NHS Highland, works out of 10 skills centres throughout the Highlands with Inverness being the central office, but until recently it did not have a permanent base in the city.

And it held an open day today (Tuesday November 16) for invited guests so they could see the new premises at Rowans, New Craigs, Leachkin Road, and to raise awareness of the work that is done there.

Marion Mackay, who is manager for TAG Highland, explained that they had been based in a number of different buildings on the old Craig Dunain site, all of which had been temporary arrangements and were too small. The skills centre and workshop had been in separate locations and the workshop was shared with another organisation.

The new premises bring together both the Training and Supported Employment Unit and the workshop for Social Enterprise TAG Trading on the one site. TAG Trading generates income by providing a picture framing and printing service, as well as selling a range of garden furniture and other wooden items to order.

Mrs Mackay said: “Both staff and clients are very happy in their new workplace. It has raised morale, motivation and effectiveness. It has also resulted in more referrals by word of mouth and made us proud of our accommodation.

“We now we have a very professional learning environment for clients, with lots of space and separate areas for clients for training and for quiet time.

“The fact that the Social Enterprise and Training aspects of TAG are together and we now have our own workshop also makes a massive difference. It makes us feel more of a team.”

TAG Highland is mainly funded by the European Social Fund (ESF) and has been successfully working in partnership with a number of different organisations and public bodies for around 20 years. It operates throughout the Highlands providing a range of opportunities in guidance, training and supported employment for adults with mental health problems.

Mrs Mackay said: “TAG Highland has helped a number of people to gain skills which have enabled them get back into paid or voluntary work or to move on to further education.”

Susan Thomson, of Nairn, who trained with TAG Highland before returning to work, said: “I had left school, some time ago, with no formal qualifications. TAG Highland helped me gain up to date and relevant qualifications. This gave me a sense of confidence and I felt equipped to move on to employment.

“TAG Highland has helped me in several ways. It helped me to socialise with others and build up into a working routine with structure to my day. Accessing the TAG Highland unit gave me a reason for getting up in the morning. It gave me something to do and stopped me from descending into the cycle of isolation.

“I would recommend TAG Highland where you can meet people, get qualifications and generally get back on track.”

Invitations to the open day were sent to referral agencies, local employers, representatives of Highland Council, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, the Skills Development Service and NHS Highland.

© 2010 Highland Public Services Partnership.
Project part-financed by the European Union (European Regional Development Fund) within the INTERREG IIIB Northern Periphery Programme