We're delighted to announce that 18 local VCSE sector groups & organisations in Gloucestershire have been awarded grants totalling £300k for projects which support mental health in the county.

These grants we're provided by Gloucestershire VCS Alliance and Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust (GHC) as part of the Community Mental Health Transformation (CMHT) programme in the county.

The CMHT Programme is bringing together experience and support from all sectors across Gloucestershire in supporting mental health care for adults with severe mental health needs. The grants programme recognises how well placed the passion and dedication of local VCSE organisations are to driving forward new and existing community-based services.

These groups are already providing invaluable support in our communities. By working in partnership, and collaborating across organisations, we can ensure that more people who need support can be reached, and that improved mental health services offer more choice for people living with mental health challenges.

The first round of grants closed in October 2023 and the successful schemes were as follows:

Gloucester City mission awarded £10,000 – Counselling sessions for homeless men with complex needs

This is a continuation of a pilot which began in 2022, providing mental health support to men who are homeless and/or suffering addiction/experienced trauma. These men are unable to access mainstream mental health services for many reasons, but also prioritising basic needs and survival such as food and shelter, finding support for mental health is made significantly more difficult because of their situation. This funding is to provide two more part-time counsellors in delivering counselling sessions for homeless men with complex needs at a day centre building. These additional counsellors can see on average 4 clients per day working 2 days a week.

Creative Sustainability awarded 10,000 – 3rd Space Programme

Supporting work with young people and disabled people. A place-based hub in Stroud provides access to resources, connections, advocacy, and representation to improve mental and physical health and wellbeing. The Small Grants Funding is for a Peer-to-Peer mentor support programme that enables the most vulnerable young people to participate in activities safely and meaningfully. 1:1 Peer mentor support is given to young people by young people, who are carefully paired around shared interests and experiences.

The Place Outside awarded £9,080.00 – Natural Wellbeing-Naturewell Programme

Continuing their work with a wide range of social and emotional needs to improve mental health and psychical wellbeing for men with mild to long-term mental health problems. The small grants funding will support the running of 22 weekly sessions at 2.5hrs p/w targeted to support the social and emotional mental health and wellbeing of 10 men. Through facilitated time in the natural environment, participants are invited to explore their personal wellbeing through group reflection and solo time in nature within a non-threatening environment.

The Nelson Trust awarded £10,000 – Empowering Resilience: Integrated Psychological Support Therapies at Gloucester Women’s Centre

This programme is set out to enhance their existing model of support by introducing an integrated suite of psychological support therapies at their Gloucester Women’s centre, targeting women who are facing serious mental illnesses with the complexity of domestic abuse, substance misuse or involvement in the criminal justice system. The small grants funding will support core activities such as EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing), Art Therapy, Counselling, Integration with local networks, Community Engagement, and co-production.

The Churn Project awarded £10,000 – We Welcome Wellness, Wellbeing Programme

The wellbeing programme will be able to focus on prevention and early intervention addressing health concerns. The Churn provides support people with Serious Mental Illness and living in isolation. The funding will support a rolling programme of 8x consecutive weeks, repeated 4x times over one year. These will include a variety of activities and topics that focus to support people with their physical and mental health and provide space to reduce social isolation and develop trusted relationships.

Goals Beyond Grass awarded £8,570 – GBG Just Play

GBG Engage with men who have mental health challenges, who may not be in work or education, mainly between the ages of 18-50 and 50+. Also supporting people who may have a learning disability, behaviour challenge and social challenges, and in particular low-income households. The funding is to deliver indoor football/futsal game at the GL3 Community Hub, with a specific focus on adults facing mental health challenges or those facing social isolation. Individuals who join the GBG Just Play sessions will engage in 1 hour’s competition with a few teams focusing on having fun. The second hour the group will relocate to a private area with beverages and have the opportunity to confide in coaches and peers.

Inclusion Gloucestershire awarded £4,000 – Women’s Wellbeing Hub and Local Communities Mental Health Pathway Awareness

Women’s Wellbeing Hub and Local Communities Mental Health Pathway Awareness will support people from diverse backgrounds and ethnic minorities who do not always come forward to access mental health services – cultural demands, privacy factors and stigma are some of the barriers. Target groups include South Asian Islamic community, Afro Caribbean community and other communities challenged by health inequalities. The small grants fund will support the delivery of activities, progressing the learning journey of those members already involved within the hub, such as visits, learning activities, workshops with varying providers and welfare organisations. Plus delivering wider mental health focuses workshops inviting other deprived communities suffering from health inequalities.

The Door Youth Project awarded £10,000 – Mentoring gateway for Adults (MGA)

This project will expand their current support to local adults, particularly parents/carers facing a serious mental illness. The Door has expanded their focus which is currently supporting young people mental wellbeing and complex emotional needs and have expanded to adults with the aim to improve the lives and experience of the family as a whole. The funding will support the delivery of a Mentoring Gateway service. Focused on acute support, prevention, and early intervention. Providing access to video/phone support, online information resources, receiving self and external referrals e.g., GPs.

Artlift awarded £9,900 – Creating Change Projects

Seeking to address the under-representation participant base by co-produced creative engagement projects that will benefit those who are already experiencing a serious mental illness or who are living in communities where it is more prevalent. Through equality monitoring, it was identified a low representation of non-White British, Black or Asian. The small grants funding is to support the co-production of two projects – two groups of 8-10 adults. The Co-production group will choose themes/artistic/craft/creative activities that resonate. Ensuring communities see themselves reflected in the projects, they will ensure Black and/or Asian Art facilitators, Trustees and volunteers are a part of the co-production and/or delivery teams.

Friendship Café awarded £10,000 – Connecting Communities

Small Grants Funding to support the running of the café which is seen as a safe space for isolated and marginalised individuals and families in Barton and Tredworth, by facilitating peer support for people with mental health needs. The Coffee Shop is a welcoming space for open discussion, awareness, and connection to support people with mental health needs. The aim is to continue to use the café as an information point so people can receive useful and timely information on mental health services, plus receiving community support. The café serves a stigma-free environment where people can openly discuss mental health challenges without judgement or discrimination.

Gloucestershire Counselling Service awarded £10,000 – Strengthening GCS’s resources to serve those with Serious Mental Illness

Small grants funding was awarded to strengthen their resources to serve those with serious mental illness (SMI). Provide fully funded counselling sessions for 10 individuals up to 12 sessions who have been diagnosed or suspected of having SMI, who are within the target groups of: ethnically diverse people, LGBTQ+, men, those living in areas of high deprivation and rural communities. Plus, build on the training for counsellors and clinical management team. In being able to promote fully funded counselling to the targeted groups, they will not only build awareness of services available but be able to provider preventative and early intervention to individual who are not able to access services elsewhere.

The second round of grants closed in January 2024 and the successful schemes were:

Guideposts Trust awarded £16,377 – Managing Emotions project

To pilot a series of online group-based interventions to be delivered alongside our integrative relational one-to-one coaching approach. The purpose of the groups is to help individuals develop effective emotional management skills which they can use when they are distressed. The funding will support delivery of three skills-based groups over a 12month period, to include male anger management, managing emotions groups as well as ending groups for those coming to an end of their current coaching.

The Nelson Trust awarded £34,732 – Emotional Health and Wellbeing project

Provision of a dedicated therapeutic practitioner who can deliver interventions such as EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing), Art Therapy and other trauma informed therapies, supporting women with their emotional health and well-being from our Gloucester Women’s Centre. This will support women facing severe mental illness (SMI). The funding will support Nelson Trust with a new Emotional and Wellbeing provision with dedicated therapeutic practitioner offering intensive 1:1 key working, plus a comprehensive array of therapeutic interventions and community-based activities to address the physical mental and emotional health challenges vulnerable women face.

GL11 Community Hub awarded £35,000 – Upskilling Community Hubs to support the CMHT Programme

The project will work with community action groups of people with a Serious Mental Illness to identify and deliver the training and support required to equip the network of Community Organisations across Stroud District for CMHT delivery. Will ensure existing community services are able to expand in a safe, accessible, and coherent way, for those individuals with more severe and complex needs. By doing so, the funding will provide training to volunteers and staff to build capacity and confidence, ongoing support and supervision to volunteers and staff, providing a helpline, delivering activities, building a community action group and facilitating focus groups.

Listening Post Counselling and Training awarded £35,000 – Forest REACH Project

‘Forest REACH’ will support individuals with serious mental illness (SMI) in areas of high deprivation in the Forest of Dean through community mental health support and face-to-face counselling and psychotherapy. The funding will support 1:1 counselling and psychotherapy across bases in Coleford, Cinderford and Lydney, plus offering online therapy, supporting people to improve their mental wellbeing. Wrap around community support will enable people to feel more prepared for counselling, help build an understanding of what counselling is and how it can help and support people to build connections and reintegrate into their community post counselling.

Art For All Group awarded £25,000 – Art for All Running Costs

Art for All is a grass roots constituted community group who deliver varied arts classes to people with a mental health illness in Gloucestershire. They currently have around 40 members who attend one or more groups each week, and this number is growing weekly. The members are a varied group of people from diverse backgrounds, most have severe life-long mental health conditions, they may also have additional complex needs, and they may experience poverty, loneliness, racial inequality, discrimination, sexual discrimination, be victims of abuse, suffer with an eating disorder, stigma, physical or mental disability, be neurodivergent or experience other conditions. The funding will support the group to continue with their ongoing work and enable them to sustain their building numbers of members.

Kingfisher Treasure Seekers awarded £34,750 – Anchor Light Programme

Anchor Light Programme – building on the current Anchor programme to support individuals with emotional regulation by focusing on a particular goal. Focuses on a lower level of support provided just at the right time, to improve well-being before behaviour and needs escalate and mental health declines fully into crisis. The funding will support the programme to support people who are presenting a need, with access to the right support at the right time, work in a trauma informed way to coach the individual around emotional regulation and self-advocacy whilst practically supporting them make appointments and go with them as needed.

The Place Outside awarded £19,500 – Naturewell-Natural Wellbeing Project

The aim of the project is to enable participants to explore their own personal self-care for positive mental health and wellbeing, by accessing their immediate natural environment through nature-based practices, while being held within a non-threatening group, for personal ongoing self-care. The funding will support 30 sessions for 2.5hrs once a week in local green spaces. The sessions are informed by 5 pathways to Nature Connectedness, participants will develop learning, skills, personal awareness and personal potential through activities and interventions that also encourage pro nature behaviours.

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