Blue Monday officially deemed as the most depressing day of the year will bring good news to many third sector organisations in North Ayrshire who support good mental health and wellbeing. 86 groups and organisations had applied for the Scottish Governments Communities Mental Health and Wellbeing fund, leading to an ask of nearly £1.2million from the total fund of £407k. In a remarkable outcome from the process, led by Arran Community and Voluntary Service (Arran CVS), partner in the Third Sector Interface North Ayrshire (TSI), statutory partners dug deep to double the fund to £814k and boost the benefits that the wealth of projects will bring to the people of North Ayrshire.
Partners from Health and Social Care, Community Planning, other organisational representatives and people with lived experience were brought together through pre-existing positive TSI relationships to review and discuss the applications over an 8-week period. The process highlighted the many worthy, creative locally driven projects from groups who had grown in strength to meet local needs during the pandemic.
Vicki Yuill, Chief Officer of Arran CVS said, ‘the strength of applications received have been phenomenal and highlights the quality of community projects driven by locally recognised and developed solutions, these will create impact where it is needed most. It was undoubtedly the opportunity for partners to read about the planned activities which led to the overwhelming support received. This has been a great chance to learn more about the aspirations of our sector and we look forward to contacting the groups and organisations with good news. For applications which were not funded, support will be offered from a development officer to source alternative funds or work up the ideas in readiness for the anticipated 2022-23 round of the fund.
Lesley Forsyth, Senior Manager at North Ayrshire Council said “The challenges relating to mental health and wellbeing as a result of peoples lived experiences over the last 24 months is immense. The awards being made via this funding highlights the wide range of innovative and creative ideas that local communities have developed to assist in delivering local solutions. It’s truly amazing to see the diverse range of community groups and their different approaches come together in this way – all with the aim of addressing the important issue of caring for our mental health.”
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