New fund aims to increase mental health support in Norfolk and Waveney

Picture: Time to change/Newscast Online

Picture: Time to change/Newscast Online - Credit: Time to change/Newscast Online

Today the EDP urges the residents, businesses and organisations of Norfolk and Waveney to consider helping the thousands of people among us who suffer with mental health conditions.

Norfolk Community Foundation has teamed up with the EDP to launch a brand new mental health and wellbeing fund, from which community groups and charities can apply for support to run much-needed services and activities.

The fund is being run in partnership with our Mental Health Watch campaign, which fights for better care for patients and raises awareness of the problems an increasing number of people are having to cope with.

It will be managed by the foundation, with the hope some of the money will come from EDP readers and the rest from individual and business donors. In total it is hoped up to £500,000 can be raised, which can be shared out across all corners of the region.

The foundation, which works with hundreds of local charities and voluntary groups, has pledged to match every £2 donated with an extra £1 and has already secured £140,000.


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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.

Graham Tuttle, chief executive at the foundation, said: 'There has been a great deal of press coverage both locally and nationally highlighting the strain that organisations who work in the mental health arena face, with an ever-increasing demand for their services against the funding challenges they are presented with.

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'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 we can encourage local people to get involved and make a difference.'

The fund will only be open for applications from groups within the voluntary and community sector, and not for NHS organsations.

Mr Tuttle added: '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.'

One such charity that could benefit from the fund is Norwich-based Stand Easy, which uses acupuncture, meditation, and psychotherapy to help former members of the Armed Forces with post traumatic stress disorder. Its founder, Naji Malak, said a grant of up to £5,000 would make a big difference to the charity.

'With that amount of money I could hire someone to help with all the administration that comes with running a charity, and give me more time to concentrate on treating people,' he said.

'It's difficult to do all the admin and get our name out to people when we only have limited resources.

'At the moment we are relying on volunteers.'

Nigel Pickover, editor of the EDP, said: 'We are delighted to play our part in this project. During our Mental Health Watch campaign we have put the spotlight on many areas where there simply aren't enough services and initiatives available for mentally ill people.

'With this fund it will be possible to improve the lives of those affected by mental health conditions, and the EDP urges businesses and members of the public to get involved in the fundraising.'

The fund will be officially launched at the foundation's Love Norfolk event on April 20, after which more details will be revealed as to how to apply.

Guest speakers will be Norman Lamb, the former minister for mental health and MP for North Norfolk, and Michael Scott, chief executive of Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, which provides mental health services in the region.

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