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Monday, 06 July 2015

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£1m to help improve Cumbria mental health

A £1M funding windfall has been set aside to help improve mental health.

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Cumbria County Council will distribute the cash to organisations across the county, with the aim of taking a preventative approach to mental health problems.

It is hoped the cash will help people become more independent from statutory services and improve problems associated with mental health, such as long term unemployment, poor physical health and demand for family support services.

Councillor James Airey, county council cabinet member for adult social care, said: “I am delighted to be able to invite applications to the county council’s mental health prevention project grants scheme.

“Prevention is an integral part of social care in Cumbria. Targeted prevention can reduce the development and worsening of mental health conditions, enabling individuals to understand and self-manage their needs and encourage rehabilitation.

“The scheme offers funding for ‘social prescribed’ projects which include non-medical sources of support from within the community. We hope to encourage a broad range of innovative proposals that will seek to improve the well-being of adults over the age of 16 where their mental health is at risk.”

Former service user and community volunteer Stephen Turner, of Barrow, believes more cash should be ploughed into education and training around issues and keeping services consistent in South Cumbria.

He said: “People get mental health problems because of all kinds of issues. It could be something as simple as stress. It has so many different facets, education and training are vital to move forward.

“I keep seeing organisations shut down over funding. Services are being taken away because councils or the NHS are finding a cheaper provider, but these cuts don’t go along with service quality.

“You see it as a volunteer, links are made with people and then it is all lost because there has been a change of provider. Is it worth the loss of that experience and loyalty for the sake of a few pennies? It’s sad.”

Cumbria County Council is inviting applications from all areas of the community for a wide range of proposals, across all localities and all areas of mental health prevention. Individual grants will be up to £50,000.

Successful providers will be expected to work with local GP practices to encourage referrals, though self referral is also to be encouraged.

Fore more information, visit the website cumbria.gov.uk/adultsocialcare, which has the relevant background information, guidance notes and proposal form.

The deadline for proposals is March 9.

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