23 Feb 2022
The Foundation has this week announced the allocation of £6.8m in funding through the Mental Health Support Fund, which was established by Minister Robin Swann last autumn to support a range of charitable and community organisations providing mental health services. The funding includes additional monies announced by the Minister on 1 February in response to high demand for support.
This is the second round of funding from the Mental Health Support Fund. In September 2021, 30 projects across Northern Ireland were awarded funding. This week a further 77 projects will receive funding to support works within mental health and well being, as part of this latest round of funding.
The groups who have been awarded the funding for Mental Health Support will provide services such as increasing counselling provision and support services, expanding peer support networks, and provision of trauma support programmes. The projects are aimed at a wide range of ages from children through to older people.
Welcoming the grant payments the Minister said:
“As a society, the past two years has presented all of us with very serious challenges and there is evidence of a longer term increased mental health need associated with the pandemic. The very worthwhile projects receiving this funding are delivering vital person-centred care and support at a time when help is desperately needed.
“A key element of responding to this emerging mental health need has been the development of a new Mental Health Strategy which I published last June. The Strategy promotes emotional wellbeing and positive mental health for everyone, supports recovery and seeks to reduce stigma and mental health inequalities.”
The Fund, which is being administered and managed by the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland, on behalf of the Department, aims to provide grant funding to organisations with charitable purposes that can deliver outcomes to improve the mental health and emotional wellbeing of the population.
Roísín Wood, Chief Executive of the Community Foundation, welcomed the allocation of this additional funding to the Mental Health Support Fund, saying:
“We always knew, given the impact on mental health and wellbeing as a result of the pandemic, that there would be an exponential interest in this fund, and we were right. Demand for the fund has been very high, with 198 applications having been received, so we know some groups will be disappointed, and there remains a need for further support.
“Naturally, we are delighted that we are able to announce funding to 77 projects as a result of the additional allocation by the Minister. This will enable the Foundation to provide even more support for mental health services across a wide range of organisations. To the projects who have been successful, we know you will make a significant difference to the communities you work in.”
Fiona Umetsu, Artistic Director with Foyle Obon who have received over £39,000 funding welcomed the support, saying;
“Everyone is absolutely delighted to receive this funding from the Community Foundation. It will enable us to roll out a programme of Taiko drumming classes for people whose mental health and wellbeing has been affected by Covid 19 and the experience of the past 2 years. Participants will learn taiko and then have the option to perform at our community Obon Festival.
It has been a difficult few years for everyone and pressure on mental health services is immense. People need opportunities to connect, to belong, to be creative and to have fun. Taiko is a powerful tool for bringing people together, a form of self-care helping with stress, anxiety and depression through movement, rhythms, connection and fun. We are excited for the year ahead and can’t wait to stand together at the drum as a team.”
Dorothy Beattie, CEO at AGE north down & ards (AGEnda) who have been awarded over £69,000 added;
“The pandemic has undoubtedly affected every section of our community, but none more so than our older and more vulnerable residents. Thanks to our dedicated staff and volunteers, AGEnda has continued to provide core services to older people throughout the crisis. However, there is no question that the longer-term effect on their mental health will continue to influence their lives even as society begins to reopen.
As a result of this funding, AGEnda will be able to play our part in identifying and tackling the issues which have directly affected older and vulnerable people in our community as well as providing services to assist them to re-engage completely with the community to which they have given so much throughout their lives.”
Gail Redmond BEM, Founder of Via Wings who will receive over £40,000 in funding said;
“Via Wings is beyond delighted to have been awarded these monies to help us run a mental health programme, which is very much at the forefront of all that we do. We truly believe that everyone suffers from mental health at some point in their lives, this funding will help us provide an opportunity to learn tools to live by each day.”
Louise Moorhead, Equine Assisted Psychotherapist at Equine Enrichment commented
“This funding will provide local people with the opportunity to spend time outdoors in nature taking part in equine assisted activities that will benefit their mental health and wellbeing. The relationship humans have with horses is calming and often healing. People become engaged in this unique interaction, and it brings them out of their inner cycle of negative thoughts. Working with horses may be the first time they have ever experienced an emotionally powerful bond of affection and acceptance that is unconditional. Experiencing this kind of unique, inter-species bond can have a life-changing effect.”