A CHRISTIAN mental-health charity is offering grants of up to £20,000 to fund community befriending and drop-in-café-style projects.
Organisations, including churches, can apply to the Association for Pastoral Care in Mental Health (APCMH), which operates as Being Alongside, for grant funding of up to £2000 each over the next two years to help to cover the costs of expenses such as room hire, publicity, and refreshments.
A grant could also be used to fund research into the needs of an area: for example, how those experiencing mental-health difficulties can best be reached. The charity was founded in 1986 by Roman Catholic parents whose son had been diagnosed with schizophrenia. Its current patron is the Bishop of Chelmsford, Dr Guli Francis-Dehqani.
The chair of Being Alongside, Ben Wilson, said on Tuesday: “Since APCMH was founded almost 40 years ago, much has changed in society’s understanding of mental health and the value of holistic care. There are now a far wider range of organisations working with churches and other faith groups to address remaining stigma and share good practice on welcoming and including those experiencing mental-health challenges.
“But there are few avenues for direct financial support to help get new schemes off the ground. We hope this scheme will help nurture emerging projects and in turn offer more spaces for people to be alongside each other.”
The focus on drop-in and befriending services reflected the success of existing initiatives, he said, such as the Battersea Befriending Network. The aim is to “enhance the quality of life, self-respect, and spiritual growth” of people affected by mental ill-health by encouraging church and other faith communities to offer support networks, resources, and special services for severe cases.
Eligible projects must be hosted or led by an organisation that reflects the charitable objectives of Being Alongside. Projects must be new or a significant development of an existing project, realistic, and sustainable.