More than £90,000 has been given to charities supporting people struggling with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic in north Cumbria.
The £180,000 Psychological Support Fund was created by the NHS in north Cumbria and Cumbria County Council.
It has supported bids which demonstrate a collaborative approach to tackle the impact of anxiety, isolation, and bereavement, which have become more challenging during COVID-19.
The recent round of awards were:
- Every Life Matters – £6,600 to expand suicide bereavement support in West Cumbria and £3,409 for self-harm safe kits across north Cumbria
- Child Bereavement UK – £22,564 to employ a bereavement support practitioner for the county
- Hospice at Home West Cumbria – £10,000 for new services
- Cruse Bereavement Care £3,090 for training for new and existing bereavement volunteers in Carlisle and Allerdale
- Outreach Cumbria – £15,000 for the Talk-It-Out project for Allerdale and Carlisle
- Always Another Way – £12,000 for alternative and complementary therapies support worker in West Cumbria
- Spiral – £15,446 for volunteer training to support young people affected by bullying in Cumbria
- The Laurie Brewis Trust – £3,190 – supporting disabled young people’s mental health as they transition from youth into adult services in Carlisle and Eden
Peter Rooney, chief operating officer for NHS North Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “We know the impact of COVID on people’s mental health has been enormous.
“We have experienced a period of increased isolation, and we know for those that have lost family members and friends during this restrictions it has been hard to say good bye in the way we are used to.
“I’m delighted to see such a range of organisations working closely with people in our communities are being supported to keep up, and extend, that valuable work.”
Patricia Bell, cabinet member for health and care services for Cumbria County Council, said: “When we agreed this project it was funding precisely this sort of local support that we had in mind.
“COVID has had, and continues to have, a real impact on people in our communities in many ways. These organisations provide a wide range of different services that make a real difference for people in these challenging times.”
The fund is held by Cumbria Community Foundation.
Andy Beeforth, its chief executive. said: “The speed, agility and responsiveness of local charitable organisations in responding to issues exacerbated by the pandemic has been inspirational but the challenge facing them, and communities they serve, is immense.
“Thanks to this partnership between the foundation, the NHS and Cumbria County Council, we have been able to award vital grants to projects that are really trying to improve mental health for people in their communities, while reducing pressures on the NHS.”
Andrea Sales, organisational manager at Always Another Way, said: “We have so far received 20 referrals from a range of sources including health coaches, social prescribers, schools and health visitors.
“Clients are struggling with social isolation, changing dynamics with parent/child relationships due to lockdowns and lack of emotional support from outside of the family, all of which has a negative impact on mental health.
“We offer weekly support face-to-face, over the telephone and virtually.
“The majority of these tend to last at least an hour as individuals are really feeling the need to talk during such difficult times.
“We are aiming to increase referrals for under-18s and to provide group work interventions for all age groups.”