Health Minister Robin Swann has announced details of the latest round of awards under the Mental Health Support Fund.
Almost 80 charities and organisations working across Northern Ireland to help and support people with their mental health and wellbeing will receive grants as part of a new tranche of funding.
The Minister recently confirmed that he had secured an extra £6.02m to be allocated to the Mental Health Support Fund. This money is in addition to the £10m which has already been made available for the Fund, taking the total to £16.02m available.
Welcoming the latest grant payments to a further 77 organisations, the Minister said: “The COVID-19 pandemic, and the necessary restrictions which have been put in place to prevent its spread, have exacerbated mental health problems across Northern Ireland during these past two years. Too many people have been struggling with mental ill health as well as feelings of isolation and loneliness, and they’ve found it difficult to get the help and support they need.
“When I launched the Mental Health Support Fund last year, my aim was to equip and enable our local charity sector to continue to provide vital mental health services in our communities. The Fund has been strongly welcomed by those working in the sector and it’s already making a positive difference in communities right across Northern Ireland and particularly in areas of deprivation where levels of mental ill health are highest.
“I’ve had the privilege in the past couple of weeks of visiting some of the projects which are receiving awards under the latest £6.02m of funding, and I’ve met service users, staff and volunteers who’ve told me how important the Mental Health Support Fund is in enabling them to expand their services and help more people.”
Last September, £8.7m was allocated from the Mental Health Support Fund to charitable and community organisations providing mental health services across Northern Ireland. A total of 30 large scale projects received funding through the first tranche of grants from the Fund.
A further £6.8m has now been assigned to community and voluntary sector organisations providing large, medium and small scale projects. The Fund is being used to support a range of activities including increasing counselling provision and support services, expanding peer support networks and providing trauma support programmes. The projects are aimed at a wide range of ages from children through to older people.
The Fund is being administered and managed by the Community Foundation NI on behalf of the Department and aims to provide grant funding to organisations with charitable status that can deliver outcomes to improve the mental health and emotional wellbeing of the population.
Roisin Wood, Chief Executive of the Community Foundation, welcomed the allocation of money to the Mental Health Support Fund. She said: “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.”