Suffolk Community Foundation’s ‘Equity in Mind Fund’ has recently awarded £300,000 to 6 Suffolk charities and community groups.  

The fund, which was launched earlier in the year by Suffolk Community Foundation in partnership with Suffolk and North East Essex ICS, met to make awards last month and will deliver local projects, benefitting those with a range of severe mental health impairment including psychosis, eating disorders, severe depression. It will also provide support for those with complex emotional needs. Those successfully awarded funding will be working in partnership with other charities and health professionals, to develop services that can maximise the positive benefits for individuals and communities in Suffolk. 

This is a really inspiring programme and we received a very strong group of applications for our independent panel of specialists to select from. 6 fantastic charities and community groups have received funding in Suffolk, including PHOEBE, Inside Out Community, Gatehouse, Home-Start in Suffolk, West Suffolk Citizen’s Advice and Volunteering Matters in partnership with Suffolk Young People’s Health Project (4YP) and Survivors in Transition.

Andrea Pittock

Head of Grant Programmes, Suffolk Community Foundation

The programme has been planned and implemented with the support of Jason Joseph, Mental Health, Learning disability and Autism Transformation Lead, Suffolk and North East Essex ICS and his team and in partnership with NSFT.  

I am delighted that we have invested £300,000 in projects that will increase our response to mental health need in Suffolk. This fund is a direct response to the NHS aim of reducing health inequalities in communities and to the What we are missing initiative. These projects will provide equitable and inclusive support to people with complex mental health needs from diverse communities, ensuring there is help and support for those who need it most. I can’t wait to see the impact these projects will have in our local area.

Jason Joseph

Mental Health, Learning disability and Autism Transformation Lead, Suffolk and North East Essex ICS

It is exciting to bring these organisations to work together collaboratively and to be able to support those with severe mental illness by both statutory and voluntary sector partners. 

Those funded include…

PHOEBE

Founded in 2008, P.H.O.E.B.E. is a registered charity that helps women and children from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities who suffer because of poverty, mental health, isolation, low self-esteem, financial difficulties, and domestic abuse. This funding will allow them to build up their organisation and get more people involved in their project which aims to address maternal mental health on BAME mothers. They will develop activities with the aim to reduce mother’s isolation by giving them an opportunity to spend time with one another, share experiences and benefit from peer-to-peer support, while also providing the tools needed to support these women improve their mental health and wellbeing. 

Inside Out Community

Inside Out Community is an Ipswich based charity which has been supporting people with mental & emotional health needs for 18 years. They run a wide range of artistic workshops, which involves visual arts, music, creative writing, dance & movement, and is delivered by professional artists with a sensitivity to mental health issues.  

The Equity in Mind funding has brought an exciting opportunity for Inside Out Community to work closely with NSFT and deliver their community recovery model to other groups, in particular to those with severe mental health & emotional wellbeing needs. The project will support people over 65 in a format of wellbeing artistic workshops run in Ipswich, Felixstowe and Stowmarket (and online if needed). Through active participation in expressive arts, participants will strengthen their identity, sense of worth, build confidence and new relationships. 

The second part of the project aims to create relationships with ethnically & culturally diverse communities in a series of collaborative art workshops, with the aim of learning from the communities, build connections and trust, listen to what members’ needs are and identifying how they can best support their mental & emotional wellbeing. 

‘Inside Out has shown me I have potential. It’s possible for me to do so much more than I thought I could do. Life isn’t what I can’t do. It’s those possibilities and opportunities to find out about myself that Inside Out gives me. It shows me who I am.’  

(Participant in Members’ Focus Group) 

Gatehouse

Gatehouse charity has been established for over 30 years and helps all those genuinely in need emotionally, practically, and financiallyThis project will allow them to offer their Mindfulness for later life groups to older adults with severe mental illness in Suffolk. They are really excited to be able to offer this course to this population in the wake of the Covid pandemic, to support them to move forwards and to improve their mental health and quality of life. 

Home-Start in Suffolk

The pandemic magnified existing inequalities in minority communities. Families often need support through being isolated from family networks, help to navigate our health care and education systems. Ipswich houses a significant proportion of the county’s Eastern European migrants. Home-Start in Suffolk plan to recruit a dedicated member of staff to build relationships with these communities, whilst continuing to recruit and train our volunteers to offer, through discussion and agreement with the family, a bespoke support package, focusing on immediate and longer-term needs of each individual family – these may include helping to, build local connections, accessing local services, offering support as a carer learns to cope with their family dynamic and challenges.  

“Home-start in Suffolk come at different times of the day, flexibly when help is needed and always going out of their way. Thanks for everything, you are all the best, I couldn’t have done it this year without you all!” A beneficiary  

West Suffolk Citizens Advice

The Supported Advice Team at Citizens Advice in West Suffolk support people with SMIs to solve practical problems related to debt, housing and benefits; problems that have become ongoing sources of distress and obstacles to their recovery. They work closely with community mental health and other support services, local government and housing associations; they have a team of experienced advisers with training in mental health awareness and communication skills that support our clients throughout the advice process; and they are developing a network of partner organisations to which we can refer clients for activities and experiences that develop their sense of confidence, purpose and community. The support from Equity in Mind will allow them to identify and reach out to the ‘seldom heard’ voices in our community and, in particular, to those aged over 65.  

Volunteering Matters for Suffolk Young People's Health Project and Survivors in Transition

The Supported Advice Team at Citizens Advice in West Suffolk support people with SMIs to solve practical problems related to debt, housing and benefits; problems that have become ongoing sources of distress and obstacles to their recovery. They work closely with community mental health and other support services, local government and housing associations; they have a team of experienced advisers with training in mental health awareness and communication skills that support their clients throughout the advice process; and they are developing a network of partner organisations to which they can refer clients for activities and experiences that develop their sense of confidence, purpose and community. The support from Equity in Mind will allow them to identify and reach out to the ‘seldom heard’ voices in our community and, in particular, to those aged over 65. 

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