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New £9.1m UK fund aims to tackle homelessness, abuse and mental health

COMIC Relief has this week announced a brand-new £9.1million programme to support new initiatives that will deliver vital long-term support to thousands of vulnerable people across the UK during the Covid-19 recovery.

The Change Makers programme is launching twenty new initiatives involving 45 organisations, spanning all four nations of the UK, over the next five years. They will tackle serious issues that have seen increased demand for help throughout the pandemic including homelessness, domestic abuse and mental health. The programme aims to find innovative solutions to problems affecting vulnerable people that have been overlooked or under-resourced at a local, regional and national level. 

Projects include:

  • Empowering autistic adults to improve their mental wellbeing; Advonet, with Leeds Mind and the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership
  • Supporting young children in homes affected by domestic abuse; Women’s Aid Northern Ireland
  • Reducing shortages in nursery care for children with special education needs and disability; Dingley’s Promise
  • Tackling access to care and health inequalities experienced by homeless people; Groundswell, working with On Our Radar
  • Therapeutic support for young people and families who have experienced a traumatic loss through youth-led violence; Power The Fight
  • Supporting victims of modern slavery and human trafficking; Justice and Care
  • Supporting isolated women with their pregnancy and early childhood development; Women’s Health and Family Services

Funding to the Midaye Somali Development Network, in West London, will improve access to targeted services for migrant women, and challenge taboos surrounding mental health. The organisation is led by and for communities experiencing racial inequalities, a key priority of the programme. 

Filsan Ali, Director of Midaye said:

“Mental health problems are dangerously high among migrant women. They often carry deep scars of war, forced migration and female genital mutilation, combined with the strain of extreme poverty and isolation, experience of systemic racism, and fear for their children’s future. But acknowledging problems and seeking help are acts of great bravery, which come to nothing when services are inaccessible or inappropriate.”

Funding to Wearside Women in Need, working in partnership with Advocacy After Fatal Domestic Abuse, will increase understanding of domestic abuse within communities, and equip family members, friends and the wider community with the skills they need to actively support and protect victims. This will also improve reporting of domestic abuse, and the way services work with families, friends and communities so that lifesaving information can be shared effectively and acted upon to reduce harms and increase public confidence.

Samir Patel, CEO of Comic Relief, said:

“It’s fantastic that through our new Change Makers programme we are able to support 20 ‘game changing’ projects that are working with thousands of vulnerable people and families throughout the UK. Each project aims to provide vital long-term support and make a real positive impact on communities hardest hit by the pandemic.”

For more information on different Comic Relief funding opportunities, please visit: www.comicrelief.com/funding.

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