An additional £6m has been provided to the Communities Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund to meet the demand for local mental health and wellbeing projects.
The fund was launched in October last year with £15 million to support grass roots community groups and organisations to deliver activities and programmes for adults which tackle the social isolation, loneliness and mental health inequalities made worse by the pandemic. The funding provides an opportunity to re-connect and revitalise communities building on examples of good practice which emerged throughout the pandemic. Projects supporting sport, outdoor and nature initiatives, as well as arts and crafts, were successful in the initial funding.
Mental Wellbeing, Minister Kevin Stewart, said:
“This additional £6 million is being provided in light of the positive demand for the original £15 million announced in October last year. We have seen lots of high-quality bids for projects that will undoubtedly make a real difference to local communities and we want to support as much of this as possible."
“The importance of community interventions in supporting people’s mental wellbeing cannot be underestimated and prevention and early intervention is a priority for the Scottish Government.”
The Good Morning Service in Glasgow is one organisation that has received funding. Around 400 older people have benefitted from the service which builds meaningful relationships through regular telephone befriending sessions. The service directly monitors mental and physical well-being, reducing social isolation, and flags potential health problems whenever a Good Morning Call remains unanswered. Good Night Calls are also provided from November to February alleviating the heightened sense of loneliness that the dark winter nights can bring.
Nicky Thomson, Chief Executive Officer of the Good Morning Service, said; “Simply put, without the support from the Scottish Government we wouldn’t be able to run our 365 day life-enhancing and life-saving service providing practical and emotional support."
“The Community Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund has enabled us to reach more people in need. Notably, it is the light-touch, non-intrusive nature of our support which is very attractive to older people. We don’t diminish their sense of ability to live independently, we enhance it. Operationally, on Good Morning Calls we take whatever time is needed to help people to implement their coping strategies and build resilience. Resilient people build resilient communities, which is what we need at this challenging time.”
To date, 730 community organisations have received the funding with the full allocation of money still to be issued.
The Communities Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund is part of the wider £120 million Recovery and Renewal Fund announced in February 2021 to ensure delivery of the commitments set out in the Mental Health Transition and Recovery Plan in response to the mental health need arising from the pandemic.
A range of charity-support bodies and social enterprises, known as third sector interfaces, are managing the fund in partnership with local integrated health authorities and other partners including Community Planning Partnerships and local authority mental health leads.
Fife Voluntary Action is managing this fund in Fife.