#SpeakYourMind: Boost for Leeds’ vital mental health projects

Vital projects focused on mental health have been given a funding boost.

Vital projects focused on mental health have been given a funding boost.

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Vital organisations working on projects to support people with mental health issues in Leeds have been handed a massive cash boost.

Vital organisations working on projects to support people with mental health issues in Leeds have been handed a massive cash boost.

Leeds Counselling and Therapy Service, Oxford Chambers Leeds..Manager Mandy Alderson pictured with the staff working.12th October 2016 ..Picture by Simon Hulme

Leeds Counselling and Therapy Service, Oxford Chambers Leeds..Manager Mandy Alderson pictured with the staff working.12th October 2016 ..Picture by Simon Hulme

The Leeds Community Foundation (LCF), which partnered with the Yorkshire Evening Post for the #SpeakYourMind campaign launch on Monday, gave out a series of significant grants to mental health projects across the city.

The Strategic Health grants came from The Leeds Fund - which was set up in June with backing from the YEP as a way of giving extra help to community groups.

This year the fund has made mental health projects a key priority.

And Sally-Anne Greenfield, LCF chief executive, said the organisation has had an “overwhelming” number of applications in the latest grant round.

She said: “We are delighted that we have been able to support 6 fantastic projects that will help a variety of local people living with mental health problems and look forward to tracking their success to see how they have positively impacted our communities.

“Although we want to do more, the response to the first round of Leeds Fund Strategic Mental Health Grants was overwhelming – receiving nearly £1.5m worth of applications from local community projects doing great work across the city.”

Dozens of organisations and services across Leeds, focusing on projects with mental health, applied to the LCF for funding from the pot in the latest round.

And six lucky groups were given a cash boost of more than £10,000 last week after being successful in the application process.

They include Leeds Mind, Getaway Girls, Leeds Women’s Aid, SignHealth, Women’s Counselling and Therapy and Leeds 14 Trust Company Limited.

Mrs Greenfield added: “Due to the high volume of quality applications, the Foundation is committed to raising more funds to help the projects that we have been unable to support in this first round.

“In order to do this we are calling on support from businesses and individuals to give what they can to The Leeds Fund to support these vital projects and help even more people in Leeds to improve their mental wellbeing.”

One of the organisations to receive a grant is the Leeds Mind charity, which supports people with mental health difficulties in the city.

The charity’s new project will be a peer support service, launching in January, for the city’s LGBT community to address a lack in support for the community in Leeds.

As part of the year-long project, a group worker, who is part of the LGBT community and has had their own experiences with mental health difficulties, will be appointed by the charity.

Helen Kemp, chief executive of the Leeds Mind charity, said: “We are delighted to be funded by the LCF’s Leeds Fund to do much needed work with mental health difficulties in Leeds.

“The grant will help us to continue our important work in the city with different groups of people.”

Another project that will receive funding from the LCF is being run by SignHealth, a charity that works to ensure people who are born deaf have access to healthcare and information.

It is now organising a new mental health-focused project in Leeds.

The YEP’s #SpeakYourMind campaign launched on Monday, in partnership with the LCF who held a pioneering event for business leaders in Leeds to raise awareness about mental health issues.

The Leeds Leads: Healthy Minds for a Thriving City event last night included moving speeches from former Downing Street press secretary Alastair Campbell and ex-Leeds United footballer Clarke Carlisle, who have both battled with depression.

As part of our #SpeakYourMind campaign, the YEP is calling on businesses to pledge their support to the Mindful Employer Leeds initiative, which aims to make employers become more positive about mental health in the workplace.

And you can pledge your support for our campaign by posting using the hashtag #SpeakYourMind on Twitter, Facebook and social media.

We want to raise awareness of mental health issues, so share your personal experiences and views about mental health with us by emailing joseph.keith@jpress.co.uk.

The LCF’s The Leeds Fund relies on donations to help community organisations with grants for their projects.

Visit www.leedscf.org.uk to donate, or for more information about the projects the LCF is supporting.

Meet the projects being supported

A host of vital projects in Leeds received a funding boost from the Leeds Community Foundation this month.

One of those projects chosen is being run the Women’s Counselling and Therapy Service (WCTS) in Leeds.

The organisation is the only dedicated women’s specialist counselling service in the city.

And, after receiving an LCF grant of more than £20,000, it will now be able to launch a new project aimed at women migrants.

The project will include weekly courses, a qualified therapist for group discussions and support.

It is being organised for women who are refugees, asylum seekers and sex workers – who have been trafficked to Leeds.

Chief executive Tessa Denham said: “It is absolutely brilliant that the LCF is focusing on mental health.

“This project is working with women who are the most vulnerable and the most isolated.

“These women are coming from very different cultures, where stigma around mental health is much more profound than here, where if you have mental health needs, you run the risk of being ostracised from your community. And it can be seen as quite shameful to your family’s honour.

“We will work with activities like cooking and poetry and we’ll tailor activities so they support women’s engagement and are culturally sensitive, and non-stigmatising.”

WCTS will work with Leeds Mind and Basis Yorkshire to deliver sessions.

Another project that was chosen to receive support from the Leeds Community Foundation is being run by SignHealth.

The charity works to ensure people who are deaf have access to healthcare and information.

It is now organising a new mental health-focused project in Leeds.

The project aims to develop a Leeds Deaf Support Network, to prevent and manage mental health crises for deaf people across the city.

It is building on the work done by the charity during its recent Deaf Health Champions project, which was funded by the Department for Health.

The project fought for equality for deaf people and campaigned for better access to health information across the North.

The LS14 Trust – a community organisation set up by residents in Seacroft – also received a cash boost from the LCF’s The Leeds Fund this month.

A new project is being launched by the organisation using the grant, focusing on a range of mental health issues including anxiety, depression, bipolar and post-natal depression.

The project will include a programme – running three-days-a-week for 36 weeks – that offers creative psychotherapy sessions for adults.

There will also be one-to-one sessions for adults, as well as dedicated sessions for parents and children in therapy classes.

The latest project comes after an initial pilot for the service for adults with mental health issues.

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