A LOTTERY funding boost of £120,000 will give the Hollies Day Centre “breathing space” as it looks forward to its future providing services for older people in Musselburgh.

The grant, for a three-year period, has been announced, much to the delight of manager Liz Shannon.

She told the Courier: “The difference the award from The National Lottery Community Fund will make to the members and customers of the Hollies is immeasurable.

“It will give a breathing space for the near future.

“It will allow us to not only maintain existing services but expand what we already offer the elderly population of Musselburgh and surrounding areas.

“This includes providing entertaining and structured activities for the over-60s in a warm, safe and comfortable environment.

“We also want to help prevent social isolation and encourage social interaction by continuing to provide a place for people to meet friends and make new ones.”

Maureen McGinn, chairperson of The National Lottery Community Fund Scotland, said: “I am delighted that Hollies Day Centre SCIO has been successful in securing a grant from The National Lottery Community Fund.

“The award will make a big difference where it is needed most and I wish the Hollies Day Centre every success as it goes on to develop and expand its project for the benefit of their local community.”

Ms Shannon said that the lottery funding would help with services such as staffing costs and the centre would also continue to fundraise.

The good news follows a difficult time for the cash-strapped Hollies, which was the victim of a break-in before Christmas when a safe was stolen from the High Street premises.

But supporters and members of the public rallied round, with donations from various sources, including Scott Glynn of the Tranent-based Walk with Scott Foundation, who presented a cheque to the centre for £2,000 to replace the cash stolen in the safe.

Staff and volunteers also celebrated the success of their £16,000 bid for funding from the Robertson Trust, which aids organisations working in Scotland and a £10,000 lifeline from the Musselburgh Common Good Fund to keep its services going in the lead-up to Christmas.

The Hollies, which received an £80,000 grant from East Lothian Council last year, has received its final instalment of more than £20,000 which takes it to the end of the financial year in March.

Ms Shannon said that the centre was still in talks with the local authority over provision of its services in the future.

Martin Whitfield, East Lothian MP, visited the Hollies recently to meet staff, volunteers and members, and congratulate them on their lottery funding boost.

He said: “The Hollies Day Centre is a much-loved community facility which does an amazing job for older people in Musselburgh.

“I was pleased to visit the centre to meet staff, volunteers and some of the local people who use its services and congratulate them on their latest success in securing this lottery funding.

“It’s great news for the centre and will help it to keep making a positive difference for older people in Musselburgh.

“I want to congratulate Liz and her team, and thank them for everything they do.”

Ms Shannon added: “The Hollies staff and volunteers were delighted to welcome Mr Whitfield.

“He enjoyed a tour of our fabulous community resource in the centre of Musselburgh.

“We hope that he will visit again soon so we can keep him abreast of all the new and exciting activities taking place at the Hollies.”