BUSINESS leaders and funding organisations from across Cheshire have joined forces to back a new initiative to help tackle the increase in mental ill-health in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The £350,000 Cheshire Minds Matter grants programme is targeted at smaller, local charities whose services help protect and enhance the mental health and wellbeing of disadvantaged people in communities across Cheshire and Warrington.
The focus will be on helping charities to adapt the way that they work, developing innovative new ways of delivering their services and encouraging collaboration to build organisational capacity.
A ‘grant plus’ approach will not only see charities receive funding but will supply entrepreneurial know-how and expert support to help improve service delivery and ensure they can adapt and thrive in the post-Coronavirus world.
Zoe Sheppard, CEO of Cheshire Community Foundation, said:
“Even before the pandemic, people in Cheshire and Warrington affected by mental health and wellbeing issues often struggled to get the support they needed, and now Covid-19 is having a serious and life-changing impact on many more people across our area.
“Poor mental health is directly linked to educational attainment, poverty and unemployment. From the very young to the elderly, we know that the additional stresses placed on families and individuals whose lives have been devastated by the pandemic have created a great wave of additional need which the charitable sector will be asked to help address.
“It is impossible to understate the importance of the voluntary sector is supplementing and complementing mainstream statutory provision, filling some of the gaps and offering continuity. It is for these, often modest community providers that this fund has been specifically created.”
The programme is backed by Cheshire Community Foundation which raises funds to support thousands of small charities and voluntary groups across the whole of Cheshire and Warrington, with the aim of connecting people and companies who would like to make a difference with those most in need of help.
Applications for grants of between £5,000 and £50,000 are being invited from registered charities, constituted community groups and other charitable organisations, including social enterprises and CICs delivering projects in Cheshire and Warrington. Single applicants can apply for up to £15,000 and partnerships up to £50,000.
Information on eligibility and how to apply can be found at: http://cheshirecommunityfoundation.org.uk/apply-for-funding/