MK City Council is funding a variety of local projects to tackle mental health inequality through a community grant scheme.
Over the past year, the City Council has invested £44,000 in nine MK based organisations that offer mental health support. A further £67,000 was provided to charities and support groups that work across Milton Keynes and surrounding areas. This funding is on top of budget used to commission mental health services for local people that the City Council supports.
The community grant scheme was open to projects that support and proactively engage groups experiencing health inequalities where there is a risk of self-harm and suicide.
One example is Harry’s Rainbow, a charity offering support for children bereaved of a parent or sibling, and their families. Grant funding this year has enabled them to sustain regular local sessions for children to meet with those in similar situations, reducing isolation and loneliness.
Local organisations that have been able to expand their projects or launch new initiatives include Arts for Health, MK-Act, MK Dons SET, Ride High, Safari Kick Boxing, HMP Woodhill, Works for Us, YiS and YMCA.
“Mental health issues can affect people in different ways. Sadly, we know there are many groups, both adults and children, who feel more isolated or unable to share their feelings. This can come about through cultural differences or simply a feeling that nobody will understand them. Our funding is supporting charities and local projects that can reach more people and provide the valuable help they need. Nobody should suffer in silence.” - Cllr Jane Carr, Cabinet Member for Tackling Inequalities and Child Poverty
“Registrations to our service have increased by 40% this year so this kind of funding is essential for us to support our bereaved community. Prior to this community grant, we’ve managed entirely through our own efforts and fundraising activities but that isn’t sustainable long term. This investment from the City Council is crucial if our charity and many others like it want to have a future going forward.” - Odette Mould MBE, CEO at Harry’s Rainbow
The community grant scheme is in its second year following a focus on improving engagement from middle aged men with major health issues last year.
The City Council is also promoting a range of free help and resources available to residents. Heads up is council-backed campaign that offers online tools and advice for men who may be struggling with their mental health. Learn more: https://thisisheads-up.uk/
Zero Suicide Alliance is a charity that works with individuals and businesses to prevent suicides. Their free training teaches people how to identify, understand and help someone who may be experiencing suicidal thoughts. You can read more here: www.zerosuicidealliance.com/training