Equity in Mind
Community, voluntary and social enterprise organisations in East and West Suffolk are invited to apply to the Equity in Mind grant funding that is available certain parts of the year for projects that will support people’s mental wellbeing and the further development of our new Suffolk community mental health model.
The Equity in Mind programme has already delivered local projects, benefitting those with a range of severe mental health impairment, including psychosis, eating disorders and severe depression, as well as providing support for those with complex emotional needs. Those successfully awarded funding are encouraged to work in partnership with other VCSE providers and health professionals, to develop services that can provide effective outcomes for the community.
A total of £300,000 is available over two years as part of Equity in Mind, which is a partnership between NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk, NHS West Suffolk clinical commissioning groups and Suffolk Community Foundation.
Purpose of Grant
The Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) Sector is very well placed to support and contribute to the delivery and implementation of new care models in mental health. Their expertise and leadership is key to ensuring the design and delivery of services is genuinely co-produced. VCSE organisations hold extensive knowledge of the existing local infrastructure and community assets within their areas, they can also have a key role in supporting individuals within our communities to access and benefit from these.
This fund has been created with the intention of enabling VCSE organisations to work alongside one another, as well as with statutory health providers, to bring a localised community-based approach that is responsive to local needs. The fund will have an interest in organisations who are able to adapt their projects to the age, ethnicity, deprivation and distance from traditional services of their participants.
Below are some recent case studies, proving just how vital the programme is.
Sarah was referred to the Supported Advice Project having made contact through Suffolk Adviceline; she was a single mother with five dependent children. The benefit cap had been applied to her Universal Credit claim reducing the amount she received by over £1300 per month. She could not afford to cover her living expenses and stopped paying rent. As her rent arrears increased, her housing association served a notice seeking possession. Sarah was suffering with severe anxiety.
We were able help Sarah have the benefit cap removed from her Universal Credit claim; we liaised with West Suffolk Council and the housing association and arranged for her rent arrears (£3000) to be paid-off through the homelessness prevention fund; and we were able help her to secure priority for a housing transfer to a more affordable property. Sarah told us: “I am so relieved to be able to put this behind me and move forward in a new home; thank you so much for your help”.
Lucy was referred to the Supported Advice Team (SAT) in May 2021 for support with housing. She was living with her former partner as joint tenants of a housing association property but was experiencing emotional abuse and suffering from physical and mental ill-health issues, exacerbated by the abuse. Lucy wanted support from the SAT to be rehoused in the local area. We discussed her options and priority need and, ultimately, she was advised to make an application to the local housing association. Lucy did this, with the support of her son while the SAT assisted with submitting supporting evidence. To ensure that all support needs were met, the SAT liaised with the local social prescribing team, who were providing social and emotional support, and the Lucy’s tenancy coach at the new housing association. To support Lucy’s mental wellbeing, the SAT kept the client regularly updated and provided reassurance. Lucy successfully bid for a property and recently moved. While she is adjusting to the move and finding her feet, she is grateful for her new independence and the support received from the SAT to achieve this.
Equity in Mind funded P.H.O.E.B.E last year:
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 allowed them to build up their organisation and get more people involved in their project which aims to address maternal mental health on BAME mothers. This meant they could 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.