This was made possible after a significant donation in February 2020, by the Richmond Fellowship, passing on funds from The Isle of Wight Association for Mental Health, a former Island charity.
This money was intended for the purpose of assisting people whose lives are affected by poor mental health and the Isle of Wight NHS Trust were keen to ensure that it was distributed in line with this aim.
In total, 18 local applicants successfully bid for a portion of this fund, including 6 applicants awarded small grants of up to £2,000 and 12 projects awarded large grants of up to £20,000.
The grant fund was developed by the Mental Health Charitable Funds Group set up by the Trust in collaboration with a number of local partners, including voluntary sector organisations, representatives from the Isle of Wight CCG and Isle of Wight Council.
The grants have been awarded to support community-based projects aimed directly at improving local people’s wellbeing and mental health and will be delivered by local organisations and charities.
Lesley Stevens, Director of Community and Mental Health & Learning Disabilities, said:
“The pandemic has impacted us all in some way, but for some it has been especially difficult leading to loneliness, anxiety and other mental health challenges, and over the next few years we anticipate a rise in referrals to mental health services.
“While we have continued to provide vital mental health care throughout this crisis, this funding will equip and enable a number of organisations and charities to provide a wide range of mental health and wellbeing support.
“We are aware of how everyone is working in our community and voluntary sectors to provide support where it is needed, and their experience and knowledge is vital in providing local wellbeing services. This funding will strengthen what’s on offer and ensure emotional support sits at the heart of our community.”
1 in 6 adults experience symptoms of common mental health problems, such as anxiety or low mood, and with the added impact of the pandemic, this makes it more important than ever for organisations and charities to have the means to support people in the community who may be struggling with their mental health.
Melloney Poole OBE, Trust Chair said:
“We are delighted to be able to award much-needed funds to those who are often already doing incredible work to support those around them in the community.
“As part of the decision-making process, we worked with service users, their families, and carers to determine the criteria for distributing these funds.
“We are eager to see how these funds will be used in innovative ways to support the community and to help combat the effects of the pandemic on people’s mental health needs.”
All successful applicants have received their awards, to name a few:
- Isle of Wight Youth Trust for their Wrap-around Youth project offering support to young people who may otherwise struggle to access services, offering a combination of one-to-one support and group and community programmes.
- Nature Therapy CIC’s project Drum Medicine will enable several drum-based activities for various groups including inpatients at Sevenacres, people experiencing mental distress in the community. They will also provide sessions for care home, including those living with dementia or a learning disability.
- Southern Housing Group for their HOPE (Housing Options Positive Engagement). A Mental Health Worker will work with people recovering from mental health problems, living in unsuitable accommodation, or struggling to maintain their housing. They will also facilitate HOPE Cafes, where people with poor mental health, their families and carers can meet in a friendly, relaxed venue to learn about other support organisations and take part in wellbeing activities.
- Bodster Equine Assisted Learning’s project Horses Opening Doors will provide non-riding equine therapy and horsemanship to a variety of age groups.
- Wight DASH – Overcoming Adverse Childhood Experiences – this charity manages the WOW Women’s Centre and provide support for people experiencing domestic abuse on the island. They will deliver ‘Rockpool Adverse Childhood Experiences Recovery Toolkit’ to 3 groups of men and 3 groups of women.
- IOW NHS Trust – funding for 3 Reminiscence Interactive Therapy Activities (RITA) systems – this system provides calming activities for people with dementia and delirium. These touchscreen devices have preloaded reminiscence therapy and entertainment content and can be used as a communication aid.
- Kae’s Trust CIC – this group raises awareness about eating disorders and their project will focus on providing eating disorders peer support for carers.
A Service User and Carer panel, comprised of people who use mental health services and their carers, provided advice and guidance to best reflect and address the needs of those who will benefit from the programmes and projects these grants will fund.
Panellist Claire Collins of Autism Inclusion Matters (AIM) said:
“The best part of this was being part of the panel that listened to the presentations from people applying for the grant. It meant that we could hear how the money would be used to really help people like me and my family, and the many other people that I come into contact with through our organisation. Being involved in these types of projects helps you to feel in control, empowered and to make positive changes for everyone.”
The full list of successful awardees can be found at: www.iow.nhs.uk/news/CharitableFundingAwarded.