£15 million for second year of community mental health fund

A fund launched last year to tackle the social isolation, loneliness and mental health inequalities made worse by the pandemic, has been awarded a further £15 million.

The Communities Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund for adults was launched in October last year, and has helped nearly 2000 community projects to deliver activities and programmes in its first year.

It has supported a wide range of projects including sport, outdoor initiatives, arts and crafts and nature, and covering groups such as older people, those with a long term health conditions or disabilities, people living in rural areas and the LGBT community.

The new investment will allow the fund to continue for another year.

Speaking ahead of Mental Health Awareness Week, Mental Wellbeing Minister Kevin Stewart said: “The theme of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week is loneliness, and we know the pandemic has brought this issue into much greater focus. The Communities Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund has supported many projects that help to make people feel less isolated.

“The fund was set up to build and develop capacity within community organisations and grass roots groups so they can support people’s mental health and wellbeing. I am pleased that so many projects benefitted in the first year.

“This investment reflects the importance we place on promoting good mental health and early intervention for those facing mental health challenges –  ensuring that people can access a range of different types of support to match their needs. It will help us to continue to support a range of valuable community mental health and wellbeing projects across Scotland.”

Ninety-one community organisations across the length and breadth of south of Scotland have already shared almost £2.5million.

Over £1.3million was awarded to successful applicants in Dumfries and Galloway and more than £1.1million in the Scottish Borders.

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.

Third Sector Dumfries and Galloway is managing the fund locally, in partnership with local integrated health authorities and other partners including Community Planning Partnerships and local authority mental health leads.

More details about the year two funding will be announced soon.