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HomeHealthMental HealthBig Lottery hands out £1.5m to mental health projects

Big Lottery hands out £1.5m to mental health projects

PROJECTS aimed at helping people with mental health issues and those recovering from strokes have been awarded more than £1.5m from the Big Lottery Fund’s Reaching Communities programme.

Sanjay Dighe, chair of Big Lottery Fund England, said: “These projects are excellent examples of how Lottery funding can make such a difference, bringing hope and new opportunities to help those most vulnerable in our society to improve their well being and lead more active and independent lives.”

Supporting people with severe enduring mental health problems, particularly mood disorders, Manchester-based Mood Swings Network received almost £328,000.

The project offers a rolling programme of courses such as a `fit for fun’ group which encourages the use of exercise for anxiety management and a life skills group for people who need to improve independent living skills such as cooking, shopping and budgeting.

Run on a weekly basis the scheme will include sessions on assertiveness, self esteem, anger management and understanding psychosis.

The charity’s executive officer, Linda Wilson said: “This award will enable us to build on the work of the past ten years and develop, plan and improve our services over the next five years.

“The economic climate has contributed to the pressures on individuals and families struggling with mental health difficulties.

“Our Positive Recovery project supports people in practical ways as they learn to overcome the challenges they face.”

North Staffs Mind received £496,248 for its Parents in Mind project that offers parenting advice and mental health support for people dealing with conditions such as depression and anxiety.

The project will support parents in Stoke-on-Trent, Newcastle-under-Lyme and Staffordshire Moorlands to help them cope with the demands of bringing up children.

The scheme, which will be delivered at people’s homes and at local venues, will offer one-to-one support, including counselling, a parenting programme, and social support and group workshops covering issues such as stress and anger management. There will also be a phone helpline.

Encouraging parents to take up volunteering and employment opportunities the scheme aims to help raise personal aspirations through improved well-being and self-esteem.

Diane Collingwood, counselling services manager, said: “Supporting parents to recover good mental health means that children’s lives are enhanced and their prospects for the future are brighter.

“As the Government has recently stated, there is no health without good mental health. Good mental health is what we hope to achieve for those parents, and their children, using the service once it is up and running.

“We are excited about being able to begin the service using our past experience of similar work, and will be actively seeking the views of parents about what they will find useful, so that the service develops in line with their needs.”

Salford-based, Brain and Spinal Injury Centre Limited also scooped £293,000 to expand its power-assisted exercise project for people recovering from strokes.

Wendy Edge, director, said: “The grant means that hundreds of people recovering from a stroke will be able to take part in power assisted exercise programmes at our specialist gym in Salford.

“Stroke is the commonest cause of adult neurological disability in the UK, affecting people of all ages. Exercise is really important for everyone, both to improve physical and emotional wellbeing, but also to help prevent illness in the future.”

Also celebrating their £414,000 grant is the Southend Vineyard project that provides a lifeline for people with mental health issues and those facing poverty in Southend-on-Sea.

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