A fund launched last year to tackle the social isolation, loneliness and mental health inequalities made worse by the pandemic, has been awarded a further £15 million.

The Communities Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund for adults was launched in October last year, and has helped nearly 2,000 community projects to deliver activities and programmes in its first year.

It has supported a wide range of projects including sport, outdoor initiatives, arts and crafts and nature, and covering groups such as older people, those with a long term health conditions or disabilities, people living in rural areas and the LGBT community.

The new investment will allow the fund to continue for another year.

Speaking as part of Mental Health Awareness Week, Mental Wellbeing Minister Kevin Stewart said:

“The theme of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week is loneliness, and we know the pandemic has brought this issue into much greater focus. The Communities Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund has supported many projects that help to make people feel less isolated.

“The fund was set up to build and develop capacity within community organisations and grass roots groups so they can support people’s mental health and wellbeing. I am pleased that so many projects benefitted in the first year.

“This investment reflects the importance we place on promoting good mental health and early intervention for those facing mental health challenges –  ensuring that people can access a range of different types of support to match their needs. It will help us to continue to support a range of valuable community mental health and wellbeing projects across Scotland.”

In Renfrewshire the fund is managed by local Third Sector Interface, Engage Renfrewshire, who were able to fund 52 projects this year.

In response to the confirmation of the second year of funding Fund Officer Alice McBride said

“We are thrilled to see this fund extended. This year we distributed just over £550,000 to the charitable sector which went directly to groups and organisations with activities and projects that support positive mental health.

The funded projects range from Erskine to Lochwinnoch and will be taking place throughout this year, with some activities already underway. This week I attended Brick Lane Academy’s Music Café which is a weekly music session, free and open to any member of the community that wishes to come together and share an interest in music.”

The group meet at Brick Lane Academy in Paisley every Tuesday at 11am.

The second year of funding will be open to new and previously awarded applicants and is projected to launch in the summer. If your community group or organisation, no matter your size, has an idea to support mental health activities in your area get in touch with Engage Renfrewshire.