James has welcomed an innovative new funding programme that has been launched by NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk and NHS West Suffolk clinical commissioning groups in partnership with Suffolk Community Foundation. The new mental health focussed initiative will see the creation of a two-year small grants programme, with funds of £300,000 to be made available over the course of the two years.
The programme will enable voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations to bid for funding to provide community-based interventions, benefitting those with a range of severe mental illnesses, including psychosis, eating disorders, severe depression and support for people with complex emotional needs.
It is due to go live in the summer 2021, and further details, including funding criteria and the application process will be published early in 2021. Funding will focus on developing Suffolk organisations to respond to local need and will work with a view to joining the larger VCS Alliance once they have developed their offer.
James Cartlidge MP said “I am very pleased to see the launch of this innovative fund, providing grants to local mental health charities, and am grateful for the hard work of our CCG’s leaders in making this possible.
“In one of my earliest surgeries as an MP a young female constituent came to me in a very bad mental state, seemingly unable to receive the help they needed from the state provision available. I referred her to a local mental health charity and the impact was dramatic, with a very notable improvement the next time I met her. This was also at a time when our regional NHS mental health trust, NSFT, was in special measures. I therefore took the time to engage with local charities such as the Kernos Centre, Green Light Trust and others, and the Suffolk Community Foundation, to see if there was a way that the voluntary sector could become directly funded by the NHS as if it was part of its capacity, bringing benefits to all – the charities becoming more financially sustainable; the Trust able to improve with more capacity at hand; and most importantly, achieving better outcomes for mental health patients. At the 2019 general election I therefore pledged to push for concrete action around collaboration and I’m delighted that the CCG have enabled this to be delivered.
“Of course, this is just an initial round of funding and not yet a long-term commitment, but I’m heartened that our CCG will also undertake ground-breaking research for our region with NSFT launching a piece of exploratory work about the potential impact of increasing further the proportion of mental health budget spent on the voluntary and community sector. This is against a backdrop whereby there are striking examples such as the ‘outstanding’ East London Foundation Trust which funnels significant proportions of its funding to the voluntary sector. Overall, at a time when Covid-19 has unleashed an even more profound mental health challenge, I hope that we can strengthen those brilliant local charities and voluntary groups who are working so hard to help people cope with depression, anxiety and the full range of mental health problems.”
Dr Ed Garratt, chief executive of the CCGs, said: “It is fantastic to announce details of this important new initiative, which will enable the grassroots expertise and knowledge of our many local community organisations to improve the mental wellbeing of our community. I would like to thank James Cartlidge MP for his sponsorship of this exciting work.”
Michael Attwood from Suffolk Community Foundation said: “Suffolk Community Foundation is delighted to be involved in this innovative approach to community based mental health provision. We very much look forward to the development of the programme and working together with partners from across both the health and voluntary sectors, enabling positive outcomes in individuals suffering from severe mental health conditions.”