A new mental health service has opened a £300k fund which voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations can apply for.

The Primary and Community Mental Health Transformation Programme due to launch in Sheffield this year is a partnership between Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust, Primary Care Sheffield, NHS Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group, and Sheffield Mind which will deliver support to people with serious mental illness in four areas of the city known as Primary Care Networks. Alongside specialist mental health services, the programme will fund activities led by the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector.

The offering of funding to voluntary, community and social enterprise sector organisations will be to provide additional holistic, social and lifestyle activities for people with a serious mental illness which can include people with psychosis, schizophrenia, eating disorders, bipolar, characteristics associated with the diagnosis of a personality disorder or other complex needs.

Over 100 people have been surveyed about the types of social and lifestyle activities they need to help them to live as well as possible in their community. Activities identified include debt and financial support, physical health activities, family support, hobbies and activities and education or training.

Different amounts of funding are available in each of the four areas according to local need and estimated number of patients who may benefit. There is a maximum amount of funding available in each area which can be used to build capacity, expand existing services or create new support programmes. There is no set number of grants and the panel will award on the basis of what best meets the needs of the area.

Dr Terry Hudsen, GP and Chair of NHS Sheffield CCG said: “It’s clear many things help a person’s mental health besides treatment so working with the voluntary sector to provide holistic activities to support people in their community is a step in the right direction. I am proud to see the Primary and Community Mental Health Transformation Programme leading the way with this work in Sheffield.”

As social distancing measures to help reduce the spread of covid-19 are likely to still be in place when the services launch, the judging panel will look favourably on organisations that can adapt their approach in their proposal.

Sheffield Mind CEO, Margaret Lewis said: “This funding has come at a crucial time for the voluntary sector. Organisations who are interested in applying for the fund can find more information and details of how to apply on NHS Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group’s website https://www.sheffieldccg.nhs.uk/our-projects/primary-and-community-mental-health-transformation-programme.htm

The funding will be distributed by NHS Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group. Local mental health experts, Sheffield Mind will support and manage the successful organisations with the support of the wider partnership team. A panel from the partnership, experts by experience and independent health and social care experts will decide which organisations to award funding to. Organisations are invited to submit applications either individually or as part of a wider group with partners.