Norfolk Community Foundation launched a new mental health and wellbeing fund at its annual Love Norfolk event last week.
Held at OPEN Youth Trust, individuals, businesses and community leaders heard from guest speaker the Rt Hon Norman Lamb, MP, who told of his own family’s experience of ill mental health. Michael Scott, chief executive of Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust spoke of the challenges faced by the “Cinderella of the NHS” with 11% of the NHS budget being spent on mental health services against a demand requiring 24%.
Mr Lamb called for “dramatic social change”, stressing that “The State can’t do it on its own”. He recognised the role that voluntary sector organisations have to play in providing support to those who need it and praised the work of MAP and Holt Youth Project among others in Norfolk. As demand for mental health support continues to grow as statutory mental health services continue to be affected by cuts and are stretched to capacity, this dedicated Fund comes at a critical time.
The Foundation has already secured £150,000 from existing donors, charitable trusts and its own funds which will be available for ‘matching’ to help people’s giving go further. The Foundation is looking for businesses and people in the community to contribute, pledging to match every £2 donated with an extra £1. With 25% Gift Aid where individuals are eligible, it is hoped that £500,000 can be raised to support charities and community groups working with individuals affected by ill mental health across Norfolk.
Individuals and businesses can help by setting up their own named fund, giving them the option to help decide where the money is spent, or they can get involved by making a donation of any size into the general funding pot for the Foundation to distribute to support local community projects.
The Fund is not about providing treatment or statutory services but VCS (Voluntary and Community sector) based interventions which support mental health in the widest sense.
Graham Tuttle, CEO said “By working closely with the voluntary sector our vision is to help to reduce the isolation that those affected by mental ill health feel and be part of more of a holistic and strategic approach to developing positive health and wellbeing for local people.”
If you or your organisation is interested in benefitting from the fund or you would like to make a donation, please contact us on 01603 623958.