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Brentwood Borough Council has awarded £25,400 through its Mental Health Small Grants Scheme to 12 local organisations to fund activities that will help people adjust and adapt to life after lockdown.
The scheme, which runs annually and is supported by the local Health and Wellbeing Board, focuses on initiatives in Brentwood that help support and strengthen mental health.
This year, the programme invited applications for COVID-19 recovery initiatives, including addressing trauma, bereavement, anxiety and social isolation.
Chair of the Community and Health Committee, Cllr Cliff Poppy said, “The past year has been one which brought challenges to everyone in all sorts of ways, none of which we could have foreseen.
“Whilst the brilliant vaccination programme has helped the community to move forward, we all know people who have found the last 14 months incredibly tough. The focus on Mental Health has never been so vital as it is today, and that has made the Mental Health Small Grants Scheme an important contributor to the many initiatives being proposed to help residents.
“We are fortunate in the borough to have some wonderful groups and organisations that are consistently doing incredible work making a real difference. So I am delighted that we were able to add to our £15,400 own funding with an extra £10,000 from the government through Essex County Council. This will all make a huge difference to the support that anyone who needs it will be able to access.”
Doddinghurst Wellbeing Hub received grant money to run a holiday club in the village to connect residents of all ages and combat loneliness. Ingatestone’s The Bell Mead Community Garden successfully applied to create a peaceful space for reflection and connection to the environment with the scheme forming part of a wider project to recognise Ingatestone as a Dementia Friendly Village.
SNAP will have the funding to appoint a music tutor to help form a choir while the Dance Network Association can run a 30 week programme of dance and social sessions. Chat 1st CIC received money for a 12 week peer support programme at the Brentwood Theatre and a 6 month peers support garden programme at the Daily Bread Café.
Cllr Poppy added; “Who Let the Dads Out wanted to focus on helping men who had become fathers during Lockdown so they will now be able to run those workshops for new Dads and there is also an award for Thurrock and Brentwood MIND advice hub. The Butterfly Meadow is a beautiful place to visit and will now have the money to develop an online presence and Doddinghurst Road Community Church can go ahead with its plan for outdoor benches for MenShed.
“All the schemes offer something different but have the common thread of connecting those who need support with people who can help.”
This year the Mental Health Small Grants Scheme benefited from an additional £10,000 grant from the Department of Health and Social Care which came through Essex County Council. This took the funding to £25,400 and meant the council could make additional awards which included funding for the Brentwood Theatre to run a four-month project for a vocal coach to offer classes for singing particularly aimed at those with more mature voices.
Not-for-profit groups still seeking funding can apply to the borough council’s wider Community Fund for grants of up to £4000, until September 30. All information on how to apply can be found at www.brentwood.gov.uk/funding