Communities Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund: year 1 - national fund guidance

Community fund guidance note dated October 2021 covering year 1 of the Communities Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund 2021 to 2022.

Part 2: FAQs

1. Continuation Or Recurring Funding

Will there be any continuation or recurring funding?

Yes a second year of the Fund and of the fund administration and capacity building grant to TSIs and the has been planned, subject to approval of the Scottish budget.

It should be noted that funding will be time limited and, therefore, applications to the fund should be sought for time limited projects and tests of change. Any funding towards core revenue costs will be short-term to support additional demands resulting from the COVID pandemic. In relation to core revenue costs, this should be made clear to organisations funded, who should be asked to provide details of their exit strategy to ensure ongoing funding can be found from another source.

If there is a second year of funding, will the applicants who have received funding in year one be able to reapply for year two?

There will be additional guidance provided regarding Year two of the Fund (which will be informed by Year 1) therefore decisions for allocation of Year 2 funds should made in line this.

Will the Scottish Government priorities for the fund change in year 2?

There will need to be consideration of Ministerial priorities and feedback from TSIs on the first round. The network and the national oversight group, informed by evaluation activity, should help inform future direction.

Capital projects - in year 1 the maximum to apply is £10k. What will this be in year 2?

Guidance for Year 2 will be provided (informed by Year 1), with no decisions currently made around this level of detail.

2. The Size Of Organisations That Can Apply To The Fund

What size of organisation can apply for the fund?

The Communities Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund has been established to provide grants to small, grassroots community groups and organisations (i.e. voluntary or community organisations; registered charities; groups or clubs; not-for-profit companies or Community Interest Companies, and community councils).

We would expect the majority of grants in each local area will go to small to medium sized groups and organisations – with incomes ranging from under £25,000 per annum up to £1 million per annum.

The guidance states that the majority of funding should go to organisations with an annual turnover below of £1m. Is this set in stone? How should TSIs approach this?

The guidance sets out that the majority of funding should go to organisations under £1m to reflect the overall focus of the Fund being for smaller grassroots activity. The term ‘majority’ was intended to enable some flexibility for TSIs/local partnerships to allow some bids over this mark, as long as the work is in line with the aims of the Fund. For example, this could include national organisations, so long as they are demonstrating how they could provide a specific community based activity in your local area.

3. The Amount From The Fund That Can Be Awarded To Recipient Organisations

What size of grant can awarded to applicants?

This is a matter for the local TSIs and the partnership group to establish, using their knowledge of local circumstances and discretion and with reference to fulfilling the aims and terms of the Fund.

There is no set amount of money an organisation can apply for but we would not expect your local partnership group to support applications above £50,000 and we would expect the majority of funding to go towards small scale community projects, amounts of less than £10,000. The reporting expectations should be proportionate – for example, a bid for £50,000 would require further detail rather one for £500.

4. The Process For Channelling Money To Recipients

What is the process for channelling money to recipients?

The Fund will be granted to TSI’s as a single payment. It is for the TSI and local partnership group to establish a satisfactory, light touch process for application and grant payments from the Fund to recipients, ensuring there are adequate processes in place to satisfy minimum standards of accountability and due diligence.

5. When Will The Grant Be Paid Into Tsi Bank Accounts

To allow TSIs to plan for distribution of money to successful applicants, it would be helpful to know when the grant will be transferred to TSI bank accounts. Is there a timeline for this?

There is a broad timescale of two weeks after signing and returning the grant letter. Most TSIs have received the money already.

6. What Happens If The Tsi Is Unable To Open Funds By 30th November

What are the contingency plans for TSIs if they are not able to open funds by 30th November, or thoughts on how this can be managed?

The 30 November deadline was set to ensure some national consistency, which can be used in broader communications. If a Fund will not open by 30 November, please contact Scottish Government (Ollie Glick

7. When Does The Fund Have To Be Spent By

When does the Fund have to be spent by?

This Fund covers financial year 2021-22 and it is important TSI’s understand that they should not hold any funds allocated by the Scottish Government for 2021-22 beyond 31 March 2022. In practice this means a TSI must have dispersed the funding to agreed projects as soon as possible and by 31 March 2022 at the latest and be able to provide evidence of this through the agreed monitoring process.

It is for TSI’s to manage the use of those funds by projects in accordance with the grant letter and ensure that funded projects are capable of carrying out the obligations for which they are funded. As per the Scottish Public Finance Manual rules there must be a need for the payment to projects to be made in 2021-22.

8. Compliance With Public Sector Spending Rules

What criteria do TSIs need to follow to ensure compliance with the guidance requirement to only distribute funding in line with the Public Sector Finance Manual?

The funds must be distributed to funded organisations by 31 March 2022 to be compliant with the rules. However, every effort should be made to ensure funding is distributed to organisations as soon as possible this financial year, particularly given that the funds are intended to promote recovery from the pandemic and to respond to immediate needs of communities. Application deadlines should reflect these principles.

9. What Timescale Does The Recipient Organisation Have To Use The Funds By

Once funding has been issued to a third sector group or organisation, within what timeframe does that funding has to be spent?

A timeframe is not stipulated within the guidance document and it is a decision of the TSI/Local Partnership. However, Scottish Government expect the TSI to be able to demonstrate some outcomes in the first year, 2021-22, but would expect to see more substantial outcomes in 2022-23 and that should inform this decision.

10. Can Other Organisations Distribute Funds On The Tsi’s Behalf

Is it legitimate for TSIs to transfer funding to another organisation who would then distribute small grants to other organisations?

After further consideration, it is considered not appropriate for TSIs to transfer funding to another organisation for distribution. TSIs have been provided a separate grant to resource the administration of the Fund in line with the national guidance. There would be concerns with the proposed approach in terms of accountability of spend and ensuring funding decisions are made in line with fund aims and in connection with outcomes. Funding decisions should be made in line with the principles of the local partnership working principles as set out in the guidance and this would be difficult to adopt through this approach.

11. Can The Fund Be Used For Existing Projects

Does the fund have to be used for new projects, or can it be used for expanding projects or continuing existing projects?

This is a matter for the local TSI and partnership group to establish, using their knowledge of local circumstances and discretion and with reference to fulfilling the aims and terms of the Fund. It should be noted that whilst the Fund can support the expansion of existing activities, it is intended to provide additionality, not replacement funding.

12. Can Young People Be Engaged To Deliver A Project

The fund is intended to benefit adults. If a proposal includes young people as volunteers in delivering support to adults is this still eligible?

Yes, as long as the beneficiaries fit the funds criteria this would be eligible for support from the fund, however, the TSI and local partnership would need to ensure that where young people are involved adequate and satisfactory support and child protection measures are in place before funding has been agreed.

13. Are Parent Councils Legitimate Recipients Of The Fund

Are school Parent Councils eligible to apply for the fund? They aren't third sector orgs (as they are statutory)?

Yes they are eligible to apply, subject to the following conditions:

Condition 1: The funded activities should meet the aims of the Fund and specifically should focus on supporting adults not children.

For information their functions are around:

  • collaborating with the school in supporting children’s schooling and learning;
  • representing the views of parents;
  • promoting and supporting contact between the school, parents, pupils, providers of nursery education and the community, and;
  • communicating or reporting to the Parent Forum.

Condition 2: Any Parent Council applying to this fund should have a statutory duty to keep proper accounts, for which there may already be legal and regulatory requirements for them to do so depending on the status of the Parent Council, for example, some parent councils are registered with OSCA as a charity.

For information, Parent Councils are not statutory. Education authorities have a statutory role in establishing a parent council, however once the council is established, the education authority does not control it, nor can it be said that a parent council acts on behalf of the education authority or a school under the authority’s management in relation to which the Parent Council has been established; it acts on behalf of the parent forum, i.e. the parent of the pupils in attendance at the school.

14. What Can The Fund Pay For

What can the Fund be used for - i.e. rent, equipment, staff costs, materials, etc.?

The Fund is primarily focused on supporting operational and revenue costs – e.g. volunteer and one off fixed term staff costs, expenses, equipment, etc - to fulfil the activity. For this year of funding, small capital spend up to £10,000 is eligible.

15. Can The Fund Be Used To Support Work Delivered By The TSI

Can the fund support a TSI’s own projects?

TSI projects – including projects where the TSI is in a partnership with other groups or organisations in delivering the activity - cannot be supported through the Fund for 2021/22.

As the TSI is the lead partner for the fund in their locality there is a conflict of interest in TSI’s accepting applications for the fund to support their own projects. It is crucial that the process is seen to be objective, open and fair.

We recognise that some TSIs do provide services that are relevant to the Fund aims. This approach can be reviewed for future years. However, in line with the administration grant provided to TSIs to support capacity building, we are also keen that TSIs work to support the wider third sector to fulfil the aims of the Fund.

16. How Can We Manage Conflicts Of Interest

Each TSI has a Board of Directors that also run third sector organisations. What if a director applies on behalf of their organisation? How to manage this conflict of interest?

TSIs should consider their own governance arrangements to ensure any conflicts of interest are managed. For example, the use of an external panel. Ian Bruce (Glasgow TSI) has produced a paper for his Board which he is happy to share and which makes clear that the external panel makes the decision. TSIs are encouraged to share good practice on a range of governance challenges.

17. Can The Grant Be Used As A Part Of A Match Funding Process

Can grants be used as a part of a match funding process?

This is a matter for the local TSI and partnership group to establish, using their knowledge of local circumstances and discretion and with reference to fulfilling the aims and terms of the Fund. Particular attention should be made with respect to any significant impact on timescales should match funding be pursued.

Can an organisation use this fund to match fund another project that is already funded by Scottish Government?

Yes, but it must be for additional activity and activities cannot be double funded.

18. Can Churches And Religious Bodies Apply For The Fund

Promotion of religion is ruled out, does this prevent churches and other religious bodies applying?

No, but the activity must be consistent with the aims of the fund and cannot be used to fund religious or campaigning activities.

19. Can Counselling And/Or Other Therapeutic Services Be Supported By The Fund

Can counselling and therapy services be supported by the fund? Is there any further guidance on what other types of therapeutic interventions (other than therapy and counselling) might be eligible? There is demand for counselling and therapy services which are not included in this fund. These are important areas, and how can they be funded?

The funding is intended to support small scale, grassroots community projects, activities and initiatives that promote good mental health and wellbeing and/or mitigate and protect against the impact of distress and mental ill health within the adult population. The focus of the Fund is not about supporting clinical treatment services in the community – which may include counselling and CBT for instance - rather to provide a range of broader community supports that can complement clinical care. (Please see background note at the end providing context of the wider funding announcements and upcoming primary care developments in mental health).

However, we recognise that some community based complementary services as part of their offer also provide counselling, as well as other therapeutic services. Therefore, these are not excluded from the fund.

It is for the TSI and the local partnership to decide on the relevance and level of priority of the activity in respect of the aims of the fund and guidance.

Therefore it is worth bearing in mind:

the Fund is an opportunity to support a wide range of approaches to providing emotional and practical support to individuals for example peer support practices.

there are other funding streams which can support counselling services in various realms (for example, the Scottish Government Survivors of Childhood Abuse Support Fund and Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Fund)

Any proposals that do involve potential for clinically trained staff delivering therapeutic interventions, there should be clear arrangements in place for clinical supervision and governance. Specifically with regards to counselling support, it should conform to agreed professional standards, such as those provided by COSCA and BACP. Formal counselling should be undertaken by a professional counsellor, acting in their specialist role, and in accordance with a strict code of ethics, which requires confidentially, accountability and clinical supervision. The TSI needs to ensure that funded organisations are aware of these arrangements.

Background Note: Details on recent funding and Upcoming Primary Care Developments

Existing funding

The Transition and Recovery Plan was published in October 2020, and is supported by a £120m Recovery and Renewal fund. This will transform services, with a renewed focus on prevention and early intervention. This year, over £89m has already been allocated from the Fund. This includes:

£43m to improve the mental health care that children and young people receive, including £40m for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services.

A further £15m to grass roots community groups via a Communities Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund for adults to help tackle the impact of social isolation, loneliness and mental health inequalities.

£4m to increase capacity in the NHS 24 Mental Health Hub, supporting a 24/7 response.

£9m to enhance Psychological Therapies, including £5 million to address waiting times this year (which allow Boards to recruit additional mental health professionals enabling more adults requiring PT to be seen. It will also allow practitioners – where appropriate - to use virtual technology to reach people in more remote locations, or those not able to attend in person.)

£5m to implement the recommendations of the Eating Disorders Review.

£4m for post-diagnostic support services for people with dementia.

Almost £2m to roll out digital innovations including online access to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.

£1.6m to local authorities for trauma-informed services, systems and workforces.

£1.5m to address the mental health needs of patients hospitalised by Covid

£178k to support suicide prevention and self-harm.

Further allocations will be made in the coming weeks.

It is also important to note that we are investing in perinatal and infant mental health to provide mental health support for both parents and children at the earliest points in a child’s life. Since 2019, we have invested over £16m in statutory and third sector services across perinatal mental health, infant mental health, maternity/neonatal psychological support and counselling/befriending.

Upcoming primary care developments

Scottish Government will shortly announce developments to improve the capacity of Primary Care teams to respond to mental health and wellbeing in local areas. These developments form part of 2021 manifesto commitments.

The Mental Health In Primary Care Short Life Working Group (SLWG) concluded in December 2020 and it recommended the establishment of multi-disciplinary Mental Health and Wellbeing in Primary Care Services (MHWPCS), within areas served by GP clusters, to provide assessment, advice, support and some levels of treatment for mental health, distress or wellbeing. This approach will create 1,000 new roles within multi-disciplinary teams which could include, Mental Health Nurses, Psychologists, Peer Support Workers, Enhanced Practitioners and Occupational Therapists. It will also ensure that every GP Practice has access to a Community Link Worker who, through their role, will support mental wellbeing.

The proposals are that every Integrated Authority area should have a local planning group and a plan to deliver these expanded multi-disciplinary teams. The plans should be inclusive i.e. these services are not age or condition specific and need to support CYP as well as adults to access the best supports and interventions available for them if they present to Primary Care. This investment will sit alongside the Communities Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund for adults and funding of community supports for children and young people issued through Local authorities. The plans for MHWPCS will be approved by a national oversight board with intention of seeing these teams develop and expand over a three year period to 2025.

20. Monitoring And Reporting

How will the Fund be monitored?

We will require interim and year-end reports on the Fund’s progress. Further information on requirements to follow.

Ongoing contact between TSI’s, local partnerships and the Scottish Government will be established to support progress. TSI’s and local partnership groups will be supported to participate in a National Communities Mental Health and Wellbeing Network to share progress and good practice.

Local processes should be adopted to monitor grant awards and progress. These should aim to be light touch. We would recommend reference to the good practice Harmonising Reporting template – found at: Harmonising Reporting - Evaluation Support Scotland

Is there an update on where we are at with a reporting framework?

Further advice around reporting will be provided soon including templates. Further work will be done, working with the national network being set up to consider evaluation, including sharing of storytelling/showcasing best practice.

Further information to follow on the oversight group, monitoring and network information.

The first meeting of network was held on 1st December.



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