Call to arms as new mental health fund for Norfolk launched
- Credit: Steve Adams
'You can make a big difference to people's lives.' That was the message as a new fighting fund aimed at improving the mental health of people living in Norfolk and Waveney was officially launched.
Norfolk Community Foundation tonight launched its new mental health and wellbeing fund, which is being backed by the EDP and Norwich Evening News as part of our ongoing Mental Health Watch campaign.
The fund is looking for businesses and people in the community to donate towards mental health, pledging to match every £2 donated with an extra £1.
That cash will then be distributed to charities and organisations who do their bit to improve people's mental health.
In total it is hoped close to £500,000 can be raised and we are urging our readers to get involved by using the pledge form contained on this page.
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The fund was launched at a Love Norfolk ceremony at Open, in Norwich, where business and community leaders heard from guest speaker Norman Lamb, North Norfolk MP, who told of his own well-publicised personal experiences of mental ill health, with his son Archie diagnosed obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and how his family had felt let down by the NHS.
He said: 'There is still an enormous unmet need both here in Norfolk and the rest of the country.'
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He said he had an enormous belief that charities and organisations like those who will benefit from the fund can play an enormous part in tackling the problem.
He added: 'They have an enormous amount of expertise and can so often reach parts others cant.'
He gave Norwich's Mancroft Advice Project (MAP) and the Holt Youth Project as two examples of local charities doing good work, adding: 'If people are willing to support this we really can make a big difference to people's lives.'
Meanwhile, Michael Scott, chief executive of the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust, spoke of Naomi Farrow, of Holt, who set up a support group for women with postnatal depression, as an example of some of the good work that can be done in the community, complimenting NHS services.
He added: 'She now has 450 members in her group who are getting out of the house and helping each other with mental health. What a fantastic story.'
Individuals and businesses can help by setting up their own named fund, giving them the option to help decide where the money is spent, making a donation of any size into the general funding pot or by offering further match-funding.
The foundation, a grant making charity that connects donors with local community projects, says that with demand for mental health support set to grow as statutory mental health services continue to be affected by cuts and are stretched to capacity, the new fund comes at a critical time.
Graham Tuttle, CEO of the foundation, said: 'There may not be enough money, there may not be the services exactly where we want them, but there is a great appetitie for change., You can help make a difference.'
Jane Witt, CEO of Norwich-based Eating Matters, said the eating disorder charity would be bidding for funds and that it 'benefitted everybody' to do their bit to help improve mental health.
The foundation has already secured £140,000 from a number of donors, meaning charitable trusts and organisations can already bid for a slice of the cash.
If you have a mental health story for us, contact Nick Carding at firstname.lastname@example.org
HOW TO APPLY
The fund is not about providing treatment or statutory services but voluntary and community sector based work which support mental health in the widest sense.
Charities and community groups can apply for funding for projects of up to £5,000 and they will be successful if they can demonstrate how their project will help people affected by mental health conditions.
Norfolk Community Foundation has drawn up a list of five themes and applications should relate to at least one of them.
The themes are helping older and vulnerable people live independently and longer, caring and supporting people recovering from trauma or abuse, offering support and respite for carers; aiding recovery and rehabilitation and growing healthy minds among children and young people.
Graham Tuttle, chief executive at the foundation, said 'As a charity that links donors to need across Norfolk, we felt that we are well positioned to help to play a role in enabling positive change and we hope that by introducing a funding match challenge at our Love Norfolk event, where we match every £2 with £1, we can encourage local people to get involved and make a difference.
'By working closely with the voluntary sector our vision is to help to reduce the isolation that those affected by mental ill health feel and be part of more of a holistic and strategic approach to developing positive health and wellbeing for local people.'
If you or your organisation is interested in benefitting from the fund please visit the website www.norfolkfoundation.com or contact the grants team on 01603 623958.