A HELENSBURGH mental health hub and the town’s Hermitage Park are set to benefit from the generosity of a local photographer.

Kathryn Polley has offered to donate money raised from the sale of a series of Christmas-themed photographs towards Jean’s Bothy and the Friends of Hermitage Park - two causes which are particularly close to her heart.

The images were taken last year to form part of an Advent calendar of photos, featuring festive window displays from shops around the town.

And after one of the stores got in touch to purchase a photo, Kathryn was inspired to give something back to the community by supporting the initiatives.

READ MORE: Award-winning photographer hopes to capture Helensburgh's 'town jewels'

She said: “The idea really came about because I was contacted by The Olde Christmas Shoppe to see if they could buy their image from the Advent calendar.

“I hadn’t taken those pictures with a view to selling them - I just thought it would be a bit of fun, and a nice way to celebrate the diversity of independent businesses we have in Helensburgh, so I thought it would be a nice gesture to help out a couple of local causes that I feel are doing really important work.

“In March I exhibited some of my work in Edinburgh - work that was based on the idea of the importance of green space for our mental health, and what access there is to green space if you can’t actually afford to jump in a car and drive to all the magnificent scenery that’s supposedly ‘on our doorstep’.

“If you can only get to places within walking distance, access to places like Duchess Wood and Hermitage Park is even more important if you’re looking for a breathing space, some time to yourself and to appreciate nature’s beauty.

“So, I’ve been wanting to support the volunteers at the park for some time now because I see the park as a really precious resource, and this seemed like a good way to raise some money when I know that they need all the donations they can get.

“I want to help Jean’s Bothy because I’m aware that I use photography as a kind of therapeutic exercise for dealing with my own mental health issues and I think it’s fantastic that they provide a supportive, safe environment for members to call their own with a great range of activities and a really homely and welcoming hub - it’s exactly the sort of thing that I think is so important for our community.”

READ MORE: Old tools wanted for Helensburgh mental health hub

Fund raising for the Friends of Hermitage Park is ongoing as the volunteer group seek to refurbish and restore the park to its former glories, including a revamped pavilion and CCTV security system.

Meanwhile, Jean’s Bothy, which opened its doors in 2018, regularly hosts events and activities for members with mental health issues.

Kathryn added: “There were twenty-five images in the Advent calendar, so if every shop featured were to buy their own image we could raise over £300 for each of these causes. I’d be absolutely delighted with that.

“The Olde Christmas Shoppe have started the ball rolling and the Toy Shop have also asked to buy their image in support of these two causes, so hopefully others will follow.”

Katrina Sayer, development manager at Jean’s Bothy, said: “We were delighted to hear of this generous offer of support from Kathryn.

"Jean’s Bothy’s members are part of the local community so any local support is much appreciated."

READ MORE: Friends and family given permanent place in Hermitage Park's story

Fiona Baker, chair of the Friends of Hermitage Park, said: "The Friends are delighted that Kath Polley has made such a generous gesture of support to the park.

"Every penny donated to the Friends is being put to good use to make the park the best we can.

"We greatly appreciate Kath’s ongoing support of the project and are very grateful for this thoughtful and kind gesture."

Each image costs £25 and if you would like to purchase one, contact Kathryn on kp@kathrynpolleyphotography.com.