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 3: Examples

Project examples

Below is a selection of examples which demonstrate the type of projects that could be funded through the Fund. This does not mean these particular groups will be funded, rather they are illustrative and are in no way exhaustive of the type of projects that could be funded.

African Women’s Network

The project works with women from African backgrounds in Glasgow as a community that experiences disadvantage on the basis of sex and race. The project will recruit 20 women (Anti-Stigma Ambassadors) to run basic mental health sessions to demystify mental health and increase awareness of available support and to shift attitudes towards mental health from negative to positive, as opposed to being a thing of shame. This will have a confidence building aspect to it.

The Anti-stigma Ambassadors will be supported to initiate conversations in their groups and communities, exploring perspectives, challenging myths, sharing information and encouraging help seeking.

Chris’s House

Chris’s House is a “centre for help, response and intervention surrounding suicide”, and was established in Wishaw by Ann Rowan, the mother of Chris, who completed suicide at the age of 36. Chris’s House is a 24-hour non-medical crisis centre, where guests are allocated a volunteer worker who supports them through their depression and suicidal thoughts to build resilience and confidence.

The service is staffed by unpaid volunteers who come from a range of backgrounds, and are trained to provide guests with one-to-one support such as counselling and reiki sessions, risk assessments and contacts with statutory services where necessary. Staff also provide community outreach and training and a range of support groups including Loss Surrounding Suicide for those who have been affected by suicide.

Chris’s House is funded through donations and fund-raising activities from families who have had contact with the service and the general public, including the annual Charity Ball and the Walk of Hope. They also have sponsorship from a number of local businesses. Growth in demand for their services has led to a second property being opened in Midlothian.

Men Matter Scotland

Men Matter Scotland (MMS) is a peer-run charity based in Drumchapel which seeks to promote wellbeing and prevent suicide in men. They run confidential peer-to-peer support sessions and arrange referrals for men in distress where needed.

The organisation promotes activity and connection through talking groups, art sessions, bike club sessions, ice water breathing technique training and cold water exposure. Demand for their services rose rapidly after their Hub opened in February 2021 and they currently have around 700 registered members.

MMS is overseen by a Board of Trustees and supported by trained volunteers. Some of MMS’s members have shared their stories on the organisation’s website, giving an insight into their own life experiences and how MMS has helped them.

Common Wheel

Common Wheel is a mental health charity who aim to reduce isolation, develop skills, improve mental wellbeing, and challenge stigma. Their values are Care, Positivity, Equality and Partnership. Mental illness and associated stigma may lead to loss of employment, poverty, and withdrawal from society. Conversely, unemployment and poverty are likely to exacerbate mental illness. Common Wheel aims to break this cycle.

Multi-story is a collaboration between Common Wheel and the Gartnavel Royal community. The aims are to inspire, encourage, and enable access to cultural connection and creative expression through reading and writing. Common Wheel believe this shouldn’t stop just because you are in hospital.

This project has accessibility, flexibility, and collaboration at its heart. It is intended for patients, staff, friends, family, and visitors to Gartnavel Royal Hospital. The project provides resources for individuals to use on their own terms, some of which have been produced by former patients or people managing mental illness in the community. The project writer provides advice for staff supporting patients to engage with the pack or works with individuals on their own creative writing. Common Wheel are currently working on access to a library membership for e-materials for all patients and a series of authors talks.

Lived experience examples

As outlined the guidance, the ambition for this Fund is to ensure lived experience is central to the Fund. This section provides some examples of lived experience from the perspective of setting up a community group (Plus Perth), using lived experience in policy development (Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Group) and also lived experience approaches utilised in local areas (Dundee Healthy Minds Network).

PLUS Perth

PLUS is a member led social movement charity based in Perth & Kinross and which works on challenging stigma and discrimination and recovery from mental ill-health. PLUS’s members are people who have experienced mental distress in their lives, and those who agree with the PLUS values of trust, honesty, equality, justice, love, compassion, partnership working and community spirit.

PLUS grew from a small group of individuals who had used mental health services, in response to a recognition from the Scottish Government of low levels of service user involvement. NHS Tayside are their main funder and they are led by a board of between five and eight Trustees. Members are involved in decisions relating to the priorities of the organisation and in identification of projects.

PLUS have developed a community market garden from a formerly derelict site in Perth, giving volunteering opportunities and purpose to those recovering from mental ill-health; they run a weekly lunch club to allow members to meet to discuss issues and plan events and they also host poetry, art and gardening groups. The Digital Garden section of their website allows members to share audio-visual resources including photographs, excerpts from fiction and non-fiction works, audio clips and videos. The website also offers a range of mental health resources including newsletters, blogs and book recommendations.

Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Group

In October 2017 the Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Group (HARSAG) was established to provide recommendations to the Scottish Government on the actions and solutions needed to eradicate rough sleeping and transform the use of temporary accommodation in Scotland. As well as representatives from third sector homelessness organisations such as Crisis, Shelter Scotland and Simon Community, the group’s Aye We Can lived experience work strand provided a key reference point. This work, led by Glasgow Homelessness Network (GHN, now known as Homeless Network Scotland), recognised that involvement in co-production can be empowering and would allow people from different backgrounds to be involved in different ways and for different reasons.

GHN gathered personal experiences from people with first-hand experience of homelessness through an online survey completed by 165 people from across Scotland, followed by regional discussion events held in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Perth and Dumfries, alongside a set of telephone interviews. A report on the findings was published in March 2018, and HARSAG published their final recommendations in June 2018.

The involvement of people with lived experience meant that the recommendations made by HARSAG were grounded in reality and were more likely to make differences which were really needed and wanted. The Homelessness Prevention and Strategy Group (HPSG), co-chaired by Scottish Government Ministers and COSLA’s Community and Wellbeing Spokesperson, used this to develop the Ending Homelessness Together high level action plan published in November 2018. The action plan, committed to carry on the collaborative and inclusive nature of HARSAG’s work and specifically stated the importance of lived experience in designing and delivery effective services.

Homeless Network Scotland hosts the Change Team, a group of people with frontline and personal experience of homelessness who act as a link between decision makers and the people affected by these decisions. The Change Team is represented on a range of Scottish Government groups including HPSG, and were recently asked for input into the job description for a Homelessness Policy Team Leader. The Scottish Government Homelessness Unit has ongoing engagement with the Change Team to ensure that the voices of people with lived experience and those working on the frontline are at the heart of our work to end homelessness. A specific commitment was made in Housing to 2040 to support a secondment to the Scottish Government for someone with lived experience of homelessness and a member of HNS has recently been seconded to the Scottish Government Homelessness Unit to ensure that lived experience is embedded in policy decisions.

Dundee Healthy Minds Network

Dundee Healthy Minds Network is an engagement platform for anyone in Dundee with lived experience of mental health challenges who have an interest in formally or informally getting involved in giving an opinion about statutory service running, planning and development. The network seeks to influence and change the design of mental health services and supports to reflect the views and wishes of those with lived experience of mental health challenges in Dundee.

It involves working closely with people with lived experience of mental health challenges to explore what is working well and what areas need further improvement and provides an opportunity to share your experiences and listen to the experiences of others, providing a collective voice on mental health services and supports in Dundee.

Types of Involvement:

  • Being a member of Dundee Healthy Minds Network
  • Attending a HMN reference panel or drop in
  • Attending meetings, forums and events
  • Contribute to decision making – Influence mental health plans; influence mental health service design and how support is delivered; work with others to solve problems and so on
  • Taking part in research or training
  • Taking part in a ‘work stream’ on a particular issue for example:
  • Locality based early intervention/preventative mental health support, Accommodation with support, Mental Health / Substance Use, Support for people experiencing distress, Suicide prevention
  • Varied methods of involvement include focus groups, questionnaires, discussion groups, feedback cards, being a service user representative, suggestion boxes and so on

Collaborative working example

Health and Social Care North Lanarkshire Community Solutions partnership programme

Community Solutions is a partnership initiative between the Health and Social Care Partnership North Lanarkshire (HSCNL), Voluntary Action North Lanarkshire (VANL) (the local Third Sector Interface (TSI)); and the diverse, large and vibrant Community and Voluntary Sector (CVS) in North Lanarkshire. HSCNL provides a recurrent, ‘core’ investment of around £1.2 million a year, with supplementary funding where possible. Additional funding is also secured from other sources, including the Scottish Government - either directly or through national funders, the local authority or NHS. Programme governance is supported by a partnership Governance Group which reports to HSCNL and the Integrated Joint Board. VANL hosts and manages the programme, which includes support for planning and development, management of funding awards, monitoring, evaluation and funding, and communications.

Community Solutions is a successful, cross-sector health and social care investment programme in North Lanarkshire which has been operating since 2011. The programme provides ongoing funding to over 30 community and voluntary sector (CVS) organisations and small grants to many more each year, so they are able to promote and support the health, wellbeing and inclusion of local people, especially vulnerable and equality groups such as children and young people, carers, older adults, and people with disability and/or mental health challenges.

The ‘core’ programme provides support and over £1.2 million annual funding to:

  • Six CVS organisations to convene and facilitate local, cross-sector consortia which share information, good practice and manage a small grants fund for the local CVS
  • Around 30 CVS organisations to provide services across North Lanarkshire to above priority groups on issues such as advocacy, befriending, community transport, food, hospital discharge, mental health and wellbeing

In addition, the programme secures and allocates additional funding to support the above and other issues, where possible – for example Self Directed Support. Community Solutions evaluation demonstrates that the programme is highly cost effective, with sound partnership working between the statutory and CVS which empowers and supports local people.

i Please make sure you own the land or building, have a lease that can't be ended for five years, have a letter from the owner saying the land or building will be leased to you for at least five years, or an official letter from the owner or landlord that says you're allowed to do work on the building) - you should also think about getting planning permission for the work too.

Further information on the ‘at risk’ group: People at Highest Risk from COVID-19

This section provides further information on this group considered to be ‘at risk’ in terms of mental health and wellbeing:

In March 2020, people who were identified as being at highest risk of severe illness if they caught COVID-19 were added to a Shielding List and advised to stay at home and minimise all contact with others in order to protect themselves. They were advised to shield for 12 weeks until 18 June, and then for a further 6 weeks until 31 July. They were advised that they could go outdoors from 18 June alone or with someone from their own household. We asked people to take the most stringent steps to protect themselves including limiting contact with other people in their households. From the end of July when shielding was lifted, the Scottish Government continued to provide advice and support to everyone on the shielding list, mainly through letters from the Chief Medical Officer, leaflets, on-line advice* and an SMS text messaging service. From October 2020, the Chief Medical Officer provided additional advice aligned to the 5 protection levels. In January 2021 when Scotland went back into lockdown, everyone on the Shielding List who could not work from home was advised not to go into the workplace or use public transport until this lockdown was lifted on 26 April. In July 2021, we changed the name of the Shielding List to the Highest Risk List to reflect the fact that we were no longer advising people to shield, and everyone was advised that they could now follow the same advice as the rest of the population.

Since July 2020, our aim has been to provide information, advice and support to enable and empower people at highest risk to make their own decisions about their own daily lives and activities. However, there has been an understandably disproportionate impact on their mental health and wellbeing. There is wide evidence of people experiencing moderate to severe anxiety, higher levels of suicidal thought, struggles, some severe, with mental health, and loneliness. Although people have not been advised to shield since July 2020, we know from user research** that in July 2021, 59% felt uncomfortable about Scotland moving beyond level 0; 73% felt uncomfortable about returning to work; 24% were still not meeting with others out-with their households outdoors; and, 50% not meeting with those out-with their households indoors, indicating high levels of anxiety and struggles to re-connect with people and activities.

There are around 180,000 people on the Highest Risk List, about 3% of the population. People are added to the list when they have specific cancers, severe respiratory conditions, rare diseases, are organ transplant recipients, are pregnant with heart disease, are on immunosuppression therapies, or, have liver cirrhosis, kidney disease, or have their spleen removed. GPs can also add patients at their discretion for other reasons. Around 50% of this group are over 64 years of age. There have also been children and young people on the Highest Risk List. Access to community initiatives which can provide opportunities for people who have been on the highest risk list to connect with others who have been affected by the pandemic and support their recovery through creative and local solutions has the potential to make a key contribution to addressing the mental health and wellbeing needs of this group of people.

* Coronavirus (COVID-19): advice for people at highest risk - (

Covid - support if you're on the highest risk list (previously 'the shielding list') -

** Coronavirus (COVID-19): highest risk - survey report - July 2021 - (



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