Bedford community projects awarded grants through NHS mental health funding

CHUMS will use the funding to rebuild COVID-affected capacity within their recreational therapeutic service (REC)

Community projects based in Bedford have received grants from a £1.8 million East London NHS Foundation Trust (ELFT) fund, aimed at helping support mental health care.

Projects across Bedfordshire received funding, ranging from £5,000 to £100,000 including some based in Bedford.

The programme was launched to fund work led by the voluntary sector aimed at reaching communities who experience inequalities in access, experience and outcomes in mental health care.

Mental health voluntary sector organisations were also invited to apply for funding if they are at direct risk of closing or losing capacity as a result of the COVID pandemic.

Projects in Bedford awarded funding, included:

Penrose – £100,000

Penrose helps people excluded from other services due to their complex and multiple needs, challenging behaviour or history of non-engagement with statutory services.

The funding will support a minimum of 170 people with priority needs across Bedford and Luton, centred around Penrose’s existing residential, hospital step-down and floating support provision and new referrals from existing partners who have no access to the therapy support they need.

Boxing Saves Lives – £52,870

Boxing Saves Lives use boxing as a therapeutic intervention for boys and girls, including those who are at risk of exclusion, isolation or exploitation.

They work across Bedford and other areas of the county, with the funding used to target schools and provide a combination of 1-2-1 intervention work and group sessions.

The majority of the children they work with are of South Asian or Afro Caribbean descent.

CHUMS – £91,348

Bedford based CHUMS provide mental health and emotional wellbeing support for children, young people and their families.

CHUMS will use the funding to rebuild COVID-affected capacity within their recreational therapeutic service (REC) and trauma service to help 234 children and young people on waiting lists and/or who are identified as being most in need.

The REC service programmes are designed to support children in a way that is fun and engaging through activities they are passionate about – for example, music, art and football – with a sound psychological approach around Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) principles, a well-known and evidence-based psycho-social intervention.

Through using football, art and music CHUMS are able to evidence a tangible improvement around behaviour, anxiety, self-confidence and engagement in learning.

Bedford Players Trust – £8,932

The community-focused arts organisation will use the funding for its Timeless Tales programme which promotes companionship and friendship with residents in local care homes using stories, poetry and songs.

They will focus on two homes in which there are 70% or more residents living with dementia, working with them for three months, after which time we will begin again with two different homes with a similar demographic.

Bedford Players Trust will use the funding for its Timeless Tales programme

Dr Mohit Venkataram, Director of Commercial Development, said: “Applications through the grants programme have helped shine a light on incredible organisations and people already doing amazing work to help others – and how they want to do even more.

“We are proud to be able to offer support to some of the groups who applied for funds and will continue to develop new ways to support others.

“Each of our Voluntary sector partners demonstrates what a phenomenally important role they play in keeping our communities safe especially when inequalities have shown the impact the pandemic has had on our vulnerable communities.”

The programme is being managed by the ELFT’s social enterprise Compass Wellbeing.

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