5 Jul 2021
The Community Foundation Northern Ireland has opened the final of three health-related funds to support the community here in response to the Coronavirus pandemic. An online launch was held this morning (5th July 2021) with over 130 participants.
The Mental Health Support Fund will provide support across three categories ranging from £100,000 to £500,000. The second series of small grants of £5,000 to £30,000, medium grants of £30,000 to £100,000 will open in September. The grants will support community and voluntary sector organisations with charitable purposes offering services for people with mental ill-health throughout Northern Ireland over the next three years.
The £10m fund, which is now open for applications online, was announced by Health Minister, Robin Swann as part of a funding package to support carers, cancer and mental health organisations.
Welcoming the Mental Health Support Fund opening, the Health Minister, said:
“The Covid-19 pandemic has brought dramatic changes in our lives and it’s had a very significant impact on the emotional wellbeing and mental health of many people across Northern Ireland. Last week I published a 10 year Mental Health Strategy which provides the strategic direction for the reform of our mental health services as well as building a strong mental health response to the pandemic.
“The Strategy was co-produced by my Department, service users, carers, professional, community and voluntary sector groups and many others whose work is invaluable in efforts to improve mental health outcomes, particularly in these challenging times.
“The Mental Health Support Fund will equip and enable charitable organisations to provide a wide range of support services for people with mental ill health and will help to ensure that those who need to can continue to access mental health support services in the community.
“In April, I announced a £24m package of grant schemes for cancer and mental health charities and for organisations working to support carers. I am delighted that all three funds are now open and I look forward to seeing their positive impact in the community.”
A consultation on the Mental Health Support Fund has been undertaken by the Community Foundation. This has enabled organisations and individuals supporting mental health and wellbeing to contribute to the shaping of the funding criteria and to ensure that those who are most in need are able to access support from the funds.
Commenting on the launch of the Fund, Orla Black, Director of Grants with the Community Foundation, said:
“We are delighted to be opening the Mental Health Support Fund today which will provide millions of pounds in support to community and voluntary sector organisations with charitable purposes offering services for people with mental ill-health. 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.”
Action Mental Health service user Mark Kincaid who has been supported by the charity, added:
“I am so pleased to hear this news for charities and organisations who work in the mental health space today, and I know from personal experience how important it is to have support when you need it. As someone who has suffered mental health issues from an early age, my life was drastically improved working with the ‘Good Ship Action Mental Health’, who have provided unending help when I needed them. These funds will absolutely help to address and make inwards into the needs of families and individuals currently living in need of support across therapies, peer support and projects to help when things get difficult”.
Speaking on the importance of the fund, Northern Ireland Mental Health Champion, Professor Siobhan O’Neill said:
“The community and voluntary sector is vital to the early intervention, prevention and treatment of mental illness in Northern Ireland, and it’s integration with Statutory mental health services is an important element of the new mental health strategy. I am delighted to hear that the fund is now live. This £10million is a much-needed boost to help ensure groups and charities supporting mental health and treating mental illness can continue to do this important work over the next three years. The pandemic has had a devastating impact and as demand for services continues to increase, I welcome the launch of the Mental Health Support Fund today”.
The Mental Health Support Fund is now open, apply here.