Thanks to funding provided by NHS England, charities and community groups across the North East and Cumbria will receive additional money this winter to support people experiencing hardship and at risk of mental ill health.
The North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care System (ICS) is working with Cumbria Community Foundation and County Durham Community Foundation to directly fund a number of voluntary sector organisations providing additional capacity and relieving winter pressures on the wider healthcare system.
Anxiety, stress and depression are normal reactions to life events such as losing someone, losing your job, or suffering isolation. It isn’t inevitable that everyone needs a medical intervention and emotional and practical support may be better delivered by small, local organisations.
Andy Beeforth, Chief Executive at Cumbria Community Foundation, said: “We know that the challenges people face are often amplified during the winter period, especially when they come on top of the additional stresses experienced because of COVID-19. Not only will this funding support the immediate mental winter pressures, it aims to safeguard and develop services delivered by voluntary and community sector groups that provide day to day support for our most vulnerable residents.”
Grants of up to £25,000 are available to support voluntary and community sector interventions, which promote positive mental health and wellbeing in the widest sense and for all ages. Successful applicants must spend their award by 31st March 2021.
Funding awarded could include retention of much needed community resources and services, to develop or extend healthy activities or initiatives, projects targeting isolation, vulnerability and support to those shielding, and peer-support initiatives. There will be a particular focus on supporting people facing health inequalities, as well as those who are experiencing the impact of the pandemic.
John Lawlor, Chief Executive at Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust and Senior Responsible Office for the North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care System Mental Health Programme, said: “2020 has been a challenging year for all of us and partnership working continues to be the foundation of our developing integrated care system. The NHS Winter Funding allocation will enable us to work collaboratively with charities and community groups across the region to proactively support people in their communities.
The NHS recognises the fantastic service that is provided by voluntary and community sector groups and this funding will help to ensure that people across the North East and North Cumbria have access to timely support that is, most importantly, determined by local needs.”
Andy continues: “Social prescribing teams are increasingly referring people to local charities and community groups that are providing a range of non-clinical services, from holistic interventions and general wellbeing, such as singing for health, to financial support. However, these groups have been massively affected by COVID-19, and many have lost significant funds. That is why there will be a particular focus on supporting organisations experiencing financial challenges as a result of the pandemic, either due to reduction in income and/or an increase in demand for services.”
To find out more about the Fund or to apply, visit Cumbria Foundation or call the grants team on 01900 825760.