We are delighted to announce that more than 120 community and voluntary organisations are to benefit from grants totalling £1.32 million from the Scottish Government’s Communities Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund in Edinburgh. This investment will support a wide range of projects and enable people across the City to access additional mental health and wellbeing support in their communities. Programmes being funded include activity-based canal boat trips; befriending services; art therapy sessions; community garden growing workshops; 1 to 1 mentoring with childcare; outdoor programmes for families; local pantries and counselling.
A full list of groups and organisations awarded grants is available here.
As a partner in Edinburgh’s Third Sector Interface we have taken the lead in developing a new community commissioning-based funding approach that invests the Scottish Government funding in projects that support the needs of different communities. The process has taken both a geographical and thematic approach and focused on making sure people get the support they need, when they need it, where they need it.
Ian Brooke, EVOC’s Deputy Chief Executive said:
‘It is fantastic to see this investment going out to grass-roots organisations across Edinburgh and to know this is the result of shared decisions based on evidence of real need in the City’s communities. Our ambition to roll out a community commissioning-based approach for this fund, in less than six months, has relied on the hard work, commitment and energy of everyone involved. We believe this is the first process of its kind to be delivered in Scotland, if not the UK and have commissioned a research team to make sure that lessons learned and further improvements are made from this experience which can then be used to develop and refine future cross-sector funding models.’
Fresh Start is one of more than a hundred and twenty organisations and partnerships that have received a grant in this the second phase of the Fund – fourteen grants of under £2,500 were awarded earlier this month. They have been awarded £10,673 to deliver a project that reduces the anxiety and stress that parents and care givers encounter trying to keep food on the table. Fresh Start will run a variety of food related projects including family Fridays, provide Dish of Day cook bags, deliver community meals and provide additional support to families to tackle holiday hunger. It is envisaged that they will support over 100 families in North Edinburgh.
Biddy Kelly, Managing Director, Fresh Start said:
‘We are delighted to have been successful in our application to the Scottish Government Communities Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund and are looking forward to getting the services to people at a time when they are most in need. I am also delighted that our collective Respond and Recovery Group in North Edinburgh could co-ordinate our applications to ensure maximum impact and reduce duplication, and that we saw a significant amount of essential work being not only funded but recognised by this process of funding in a new way.’
A partnership between Leith Community Growers and Leith Growing has been awarded £17,341.72 to explore views about local community garden development, develop community garden spaces across the North East of Edinburgh and deliver a programme of workshops on gardening, growing, connecting with nature and outdoor play.
Patrick Dunne, Leith Community Growers said:
‘Leith Community Growers aims to support and develop growing and green space initiatives in Leith. This funding allows us to run sessions about gardening with local organisations and our own community to the benefit of their wellbeing and mental health, and also supports us to encourage local community members to develop their local spaces in whatever way they can. It’s been interesting to be a part of this new model of funding process. While challenging at times it has encouraged us to reach out and collaborate with groups and spaces that are new to us and we are very happy that those new relationships will grow and be of benefit in our community in the next 12 months. We are looking forward to growing alongside the people of Leith this year.’
A NEW APPROACH
EVOC has worked alongside key partners in the Edinburgh Health and Social Care Partnership, Edinburgh’s Thrive Collective, Volunteer Edinburgh and others from the voluntary sector to develop a process that prioritises what works at a grass-roots level and what the people and communities of Edinburgh really value. These efforts will continue and build on the City’s partnership working, developing new ways in which people and local organisations can be supported. In addition, the work being carried out toward the development of an Edinburgh Wellbeing Pact offers opportunities for organisations to get involved throughout the next year.
Judith Proctor, Chief Officer, Edinburgh Health and Social Care Partnership, comments:
‘The pandemic has seen rises in health inequalities, mental health challenges, and growth in social isolation. Whilst this is a national picture, in Edinburgh we are committed to finding ways to reach people and ensure they have access to the right kind of support at the right time. Everyone’s different. Via this funding, we’ve not only been able to accelerate work in this area, but through the engagement led by EVOC and our Edinburgh Wellbeing Pact, we’ve been able to reach a wide range of communities and reach those with lived experiences who are not always heard. Without doubt, we are very encouraged by what’s been achieved and are committed to building on this as we move forward.
‘We’re incredibly thankful to all who have engaged and taken part in this process, particularly to our partners at EVOC for their hard work throughout.’
A full list of groups and organisations awarded grants from the Communities Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund for the City of Edinburgh can be found here.
The Scottish Government announced the £15 million-pound Communities Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund on Fri 15 Oct, 2021. Read the full press release here.
The Scottish Government announce additional investment for this fund on Fri 25 Feb, 2022. Read the full press release here.
An overview of the community commissioning process devised and delivered for the Edinburgh funding by EVOC and other key partners can be found here.