Health Minister Robin Swann has formally opened a £10 million fund designed to assist charitable organisations offering support services to people with mental ill health.
The Mental Health Support Fund was announced in April this year and will administer grants ranging from £5,000 to £500,000 within three award categories:
- £5,000 to £30,000
- £30,000 to £100,000
- £100,000 to £500,000 (In exceptional circumstances, higher awards to charities working together to deliver a proposal may be considered).
In opening the fund, Minister Swann said: “I am very aware of the challenges faced by many at this difficult time. I am also very aware of how hard everyone is working in the community and voluntary sectors, to provide care and support where it is needed.
“The Fund will equip and enable charitable organisations to provide a wide range of support services for people with mental ill health. The knowledge and experience of the community and voluntary sector is vital in the delivery of mental health services and going forward, we must provide the right tools and systems to ensure that those who need help receives the help they need.”
The Fund is being administered and managed by the Community Foundation NI and is accessible via the Community Foundation Website.
To manage demand, applications are staggered, with applications for large projects to be accepted immediately and those for smaller projects will be accepted in September 2021. Groups are invited to submit proposals on key themes including specific outcomes which are linked to improving the mental and emotional wellbeing of the population.
Orla Black, Director of Grants with the Community Foundation, said: “We are delighted to be opening the Mental Health Support Fund today. It will provide millions of pounds in support to community and voluntary sector organisations. The fund will be available for three years which means that it can make an impact over a longer period of time, which we know will create a meaningful difference in the lives of many.
"Now open online, we are aiming to provide the first round of grants within a two-month period as we are really keen to get some of these monies issued and making a difference as soon as possible so they can make an impact for the people who need it most.”
The key themes outlined in the Fund harmonise with the person centred care approach outlined in the 10 year Mental Health Strategy published by the Health Minister last week. The Strategy highlights the important role of the community and voluntary sector in the development and delivery of mental health services.
The Minister said: “The Strategy seeks to fully integrate the community and voluntary sector in the development and delivery of mental health services. This recognises the good work carried out outside the statutory sector and will bring these valuable partners into the work to improve mental health outcomes.”
Notes to editors:
1. The £10m has been made available from the Department’s COVID allocation. The Fund will involve several ‘calls’ for applications over the next two years and is only open to organisations in the community and voluntary sector or with charitable status.
2. Mental health charities and groups will be invited to submit proposals on key themes, all which are linked to improving the mental health and emotional wellbeing of the population. These include:
- Talking therapies, psychological therapies and similar interventions;
- Interventions which reduce pressures on mental health acute in-patient facilities for adults and children including in-reach to in-patient mental health services where there is support from the HSC Trusts;
- Interventions which is expected to have an overall impact on the need for people to access statutory services;
- Support for individuals, families and carers to improve emotional wellbeing and mental health through self-help;
- Support individuals, families and carers to access mental health and wellbeing services they need at the right time and place;
- Support to individuals with mental health problems to engage more fully in society;
- Support to individuals, families and carers to access technology to assist in improving their mental health, managing their mental health, treating their mental health, or in their recovery from mental ill health;
- Reduction in stigma associated with mental health;
- Advocacy and peer support work; and
- Capacity building and sustainability in the delivery of mental health interventions and projects.
3. The Community Foundation Northern Ireland is a local grant-making charitable trust that connects people who care with causes that matter. The Foundation has 40 years of experience matching generous people with important community causes. It awards grants each year and has facilitated innovative programmes for hundreds of small charities in Northern Ireland through funds set up by and investments made by its donors. To find out more visit www.community foundation ni.org
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