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Charitable funding awarded to Island mental health projects

Charitable funding awarded to Island mental health projects
30 July 2021

We are pleased to announce that we have awarded £193,456 grant funding towards community projects supporting people with their mental health on the Island.

This was made possible after a significant donation in February 2020, by the Richmond Fellowship, passing on funds from The Isle of Wight Association for Mental Health, a former island charity. This money was intended for the purpose of assisting people whose lives are affected by poor mental health on the Isle of Wight, and the Isle of Wight NHS Trust were keen to ensure that it was distributed in line with this aim.

In total, eighteen local applicants successfully bid for a portion of this fund, including six applicants awarded small grants of up to £2,000, and twelve projects awarded large grants of up to £20,000.

The grant fund was developed by the Mental Health Charitable Funds Group set up by the Trust in collaboration with a number of local partners, including voluntary sector organisations, representatives from the Isle of Wight CCG and Isle of Wight Council.

The grants have been awarded to support community-based projects aimed directly at improving local people’s wellbeing and mental health and will be delivered by local organisations and charities.

Lesley Stevens, Director of Community and Mental Health & Learning Disabilities, said: “The pandemic has impacted us all in some way, but for some it has been especially difficult leading to loneliness, anxiety and other mental health challenges, and over the next few years we anticipate a rise in referrals to mental health services.

“While we have continued to provide vital mental health care throughout this crisis, this funding will equip and enable a number of organisations and charities to provide a wide range of mental health and wellbeing support.

“We are aware of how everyone is working in our community and voluntary sectors to provide support where it is needed, and their experience and knowledge is vital in providing local wellbeing services. This funding will strengthen what’s on offer and ensure emotional support sits at the heart of our community.“

One in six adults experience symptoms of common mental health problems, such as anxiety or low mood, and with the added impact of the pandemic, this makes it more important than ever for organisations and charities to have the means to support people in the community who may be struggling with their mental health. 

Melloney Poole OBE, Trust Chair said: “We are delighted to be able to award much-needed funds to those who are often already doing incredible work to support those around them in the community.

“As part of the decision-making process, we worked with service users, their families, and carers to determine the criteria for distributing these funds.

“We are eager to see how these funds will be used in innovative ways to support the community and to help combat the effects of the pandemic on people’s mental health needs.”

All successful applicants have received their awards, to name a few:  

  • Isle of Wight Youth Trust for their Wrap-around Youth project offering support to young people who may otherwise struggle to access services, offering a combination of one-to-one support and group and community programmes.
  • Nature Therapy CIC’s project Drum Medicine will enable several drum-based activities for various groups including inpatients at Sevenacres, people experiencing mental distress in the community. They will also provide sessions for care home, including those living with dementia or a learning disability.
  • Southern Housing Group for their HOPE (Housing Options Positive Engagement). A Mental Health Worker will work with people recovering from mental health problems, living in unsuitable accommodation, or struggling to maintain their housing. They will also facilitate HOPE Cafes, where people with poor mental health, their families and carers can meet in a friendly, relaxed venue to learn about other support organisations and take part in wellbeing activities.
  • Wight DASH - Overcoming Adverse Childhood Experiences – this charity manages the WOW Women’s Centre and provide support for people experiencing domestic abuse on the island. They will deliver ‘Rockpool Adverse Childhood Experiences Recovery Toolkit’ to three groups of men and three groups of women.
  • IOW NHS Trust – funding for three Reminiscence Interactive Therapy Activities (RITA) systems – this system provides calming activities for people with dementia and delirium. These touchscreen devices have preloaded reminiscence therapy and entertainment content and can be used as a communication aid.
  • Kae’s Trust CIC – this group raises awareness about eating disorders and their project will focus on providing eating disorders peer support for carers.

A Service User and Carer panel, comprised of people who use mental health services and their carers, provided advice and guidance to best reflect and address the needs of those who will benefit from the programmes and projects these grants will fund.

Panellist Claire Collins of Autism Inclusion Matters (AIM) said: “The best part of this was being part of the panel that listened to the presentations from people applying for the grant. It meant that we could hear how the money would be used to really help people like me and my family, and the many other people that I come into contact with through our organisation. Being involved in these types of projects helps you to feel in control, empowered and to make positive changes for everyone.”

Please see below the full list of successful awardees:

Small grant applicants awarded the following:


Amount awarded

Project name

Embodied Nature CIC -



Ecotherapy for up to 15 adults with a diagnosis of ASD and related anxiety or low mood.

Kae’s Trust CIC



Provide Eating Disorder peer support for carers.


IOW NHS Trust - - Learning Disabilities


 Equipment to support people who are non verbal or have other communication barriers to access community groups and resources.

IOW NHS Trust / Mental Health Occupational Therapy                           


Equipment for the development of an allotment and flower garden at Sevenacres Ward, St. Mary’s Hospital.

Sensory Space CIC



“Me time” relaxation sessions for parents/ carers of children with a disability / special need.


Wight Horse CIC


Horse care, stable management, and riding sessions to help support people using mental health services (100 sessions)


Large grant applicants awarded the following:


Amount awarded


Age UK



Training for members of their team to recognise and support mental health difficulties in their clients.



WEvolve - funding for a dedicated mental health support worker to help address social anxiety, isolation by supporting people to identify and attend activities that interest them and meet their needs.

Bodster Equine Assisted Learning


Horses Opening Doors - non-riding equine therapy and horsemanship to a variety of age groups to address social isolation and enable people to gain new skills.

Carers IW


Caring for Carers - funding a Carer’s Support Worker for 25 hours per week for 1 year to further support carers of people with mental health conditions via community outreach and group sessions.

Citizens Advice Bureau


It’s ok to ask for help about money – funding for a dedicated benefits advisor for people with mental health conditions, and to train the other members of their money advice team to recognise and support mental health difficulties in their own clients.

Independent Arts


ReConnect – arts-based activities to facilitate reconnection with society post-Covid for those people who suffer from social anxiety or isolation.

IOW NHS Trust – MHLD Fitness Suite




Sevenacres Fitness Suite, St. Mary’s Hospital - replace and upgrade current fitness equipment to enable improved physical health for mental health patients.



RITA(Reminiscence Interactive Therapy Activities - calming communication aid for people with dementia and delirium.

Nature Therapy CIC


Drum Medicine - drum-based activities for various groups including inpatients at Sevenacres to gain new skills, address social exclusion and isolation.

Southern Housing Group


The HOPE (Housing Options Positive Engagement) Project

Wight DASH


Overcoming ACEs (Overcoming Adverse Childhood Experiences) - ‘Rockpool Adverse Childhood Experiences Recovery Toolkit’

Isle of Wight Youth Trust


Wrap-around Youth - support for young people who may otherwise struggle to access services.

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