Communities Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund: year 1 - monitoring and reporting summary

Monitoring and reporting results for year 1 of the Communities Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund (the Fund).

Section B Reach Of Funded Projects

It is important to note that the strength of the Fund has been the wide variety of types of projects it has funded. To help illustrate this, a wide selection of projects being funded through the Fund can be found in Annex A and Annex B by target group and by TSI location respectively.

This section provides a national summary of the projects and community organisations being funded through the £21 million Communities Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund in terms of:

1. Number of grants applied for and awarded

2. Size of grants awarded

3. Size of organisations funded

4. Geographical location of funded organisations

5. Type and range of projects

6. Project focus on target groups and priority themes

Please note that in relation to data gathered about 2- 4 above, the percentages provided are based on the figures reported by most TSIs, with a few exceptions where TSIs had not gathered their data this way (as reporting requirements were not agreed at the outset of the Fund).

1. Number of grants

In total, there were 2691 applications received across the local applications across Scotland. Of these, 1842 grants have been awarded through the Fund which has resulted in funding for 1775 projects. The difference of 67 between projects and awards made is explained by some projects who received funding as part of the initial £15 million of funding and later received additional funding through the £6 million funding released in February, to expand or broaden their activity.

2. Size of grants awarded

TSIs were asked how many awards they have allocated to small, medium and larger projects (up to £2,000; between £2,000 and £10,000; between £10,000 and £20,000; between £20,000 and £50,000; and over £50,000).

Overall, 70% of grants were made for grants of £10,000 or less. Small grants between £2,000 - £10,000 were most commonly awarded, with 60% of grants allocated in this bracket. 16% of awards were for grants of £10,000 - £20,000 10% of awards were for grants of under £2,000, 13% of awards were for grants of £20,000 – £50,000 and 1% of awards were for grants of over £50,000.

3. Size of organisations funded

TSIs were asked to list the size of organisation that had been funded. Of all awards allocated:

  • 31% went to small organisations (with an annual turnover under £25,000)
  • 62% went to medium sized organisations (with an annual turnover between £25,000 and £1 million)
  • 7% went to large organisations (with an annual turnover over £1 million)

The vast majority of grants (73%) were therefore allocated to either small or medium sized organisations, which is encouraging given the ethos of the Fund.

4. Geographical location of funded organisations

TSIs were asked to list the geographical nature of funded projects. Of all awards allocated:

  • 31% went to organisations operating across a small locality
  • 18% went to organisations operating across a few localities
  • 37% went to organisations operating across a whole TSI region
  • 8% went to organisations operating across multiple TSI regions
  • 5% went to organisations operating across Scotland
  • 1% went to organisations operating across the UK
  • Close to 0% went to organisations operating internationally (2 projects)

Therefore, most funded projects are community based, most either operating at a local authority, across few locality or one small locality which is in-keeping with the fund ethos. It was much less common to see organisations working across Scotland.

5. Type and range of projects

While further example projects can be found in Annex A and B, this section provides a summary of the types of projects funded and a selection of case studies.

What we asked

To provide a snapshot of the type and range of projects, TSI were asked in both interim and end of year reporting to provide some examples of projects being supported, including those showing any emerging impacts on communities. While TSIs were asked to noted impacts, it was acknowledged that this is an early stage for being able to demonstrate impacts, particularly regarding prevention focused work. As such, the examples provided provide limited information on impacts.

Key observations

  • A wide variety of projects are being supported through the Fund with a focus on social prescribing and early intervention, sport and the arts, and volunteering, among others.
  • Nature, sport, and exercise are very common amongst the projects. Chiefly, spaces and activities serving as a vehicle for human connection and communication underpin the vast majority of projects.
  • Awards were made across the wide range of priority themes such as social isolation and loneliness and suicide prevention, early intervention and prevention as well as the at-risk groups identified in the guidance such as older people, young people, women, LGBTI communities, disabled people, refugee communities and additional groups identified by partnerships such as carers.
  • It is clear from the examples given that the Fund is being utilised to support a great deal of worthwhile projects that will help and support a wide variety of individuals and communities.
  • Many projects reflect work being undertaken through existing partnerships whilst others show how communities are reaching out to work with others.
  • It was notable how intimate and small scale a lot of projects are, working with relatively small groups of people in an informal, consistent and caring way, providing long term low level of support.
  • Quite a few applications were for equipment and small items which for very small amounts of funding would enable initiatives to continue and improve their work.
  • The majority clearly articulated the mental health and wellbeing focus of the projects as outlined in the fund guidance. However, there were a few examples where the mental health and wellbeing focus was less clear. For example, a talking newspaper which was allocated £2,000.00 for recording equipment and two new laptops to replace an ageing laptop that was being passed around committee members in order to continue to provide a service to blind and partially sighted members of the community. While this is only a summary account at this stage, it will be important to capture the mental health and wellbeing outcomes of projects in further evaluation activities. It should be noted ‘prevention’ focused activities are more inherently more difficult to consider in terms of outcomes on mental health and wellbeing however there is a need to articulate the connections.

Case Study: The Good Morning Service, Glasgow

The Good Morning Service in Glasgow has received funding. 400 older people have benefitted from the service which builds meaningful relationships through regular telephone befriending sessions. The service directly monitors mental and physical well-being, reducing social isolation, and flags potential health problems whenever a Good Morning Call remains unanswered. Good Night Calls are also provided from November to February alleviating the heightened sense of loneliness that the dark winter nights can bring.

Nicky Thomson, Chief Executive Officer of the Good Morning Service: “Simply put, without the support from the Scottish Government we wouldn’t be able to run our 365 day life-enhancing and life-saving service providing practical and emotional support. The Community Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund has enabled us to reach more people in need. Notably, it is the light-touch, non-intrusive nature of our support which is very attractive to older people. We don’t diminish their sense of ability to live independently, we enhance it. Operationally, on Good Morning Calls we take whatever time is needed to help people to implement their coping strategies and build resilience. Resilient people build resilient communities, which is what we need at this challenging time.”

Case Study: Cowal Elderly Befrienders, Dunoon

This organisation works with men aged 65 and over to reduce social isolation in a group known to be hard to reach. It provides befriending services designed to improve the quality of life, reduce isolation and loneliness which in turn aids the prevention of suicide. The service also helps keep older people independent and active in their communities.

Robin Miller, Project Coordinator: "The numbers of older people we support has steadily increased and we now support over 200 each week. Many of the men we support are keen to remain as independent as possible and do not initially reach out for help - it can take weeks or months of sympathetic support to build up confidence, trust and an acceptance of outside help. Our work also allows older people to make a positive contribution to the work - in the small groups we work with. Our older men often support each other, thereby increasing their sense of self-worth and allowing them to actively further our aims. The funding we have recently received will allowed us to sustain and develop our work. Over the coming year, our Men on Board project will help us to focus more closely on older men, provide much needed support for them and provide insights into what isolated older men need, want and why this group is often viewed as 'hard to reach'.”

Case Study: The Woodland Wanderers, Midlothian

The Woodland Wanderers, which has received funding, is an established group for people with mental health issues that meets bi-weekly in the woods in different areas of Midlothian. The project includes people with chronic and enduring mental health difficulties including schizophrenia and is particularly strong on sustained engagement with a core group of around 10 regular attenders. It is led by a local woman who needed some support to put her ideas into practice and with equipment, running costs and volunteer expenses.

Case Study: Yes Your Entire Self, East Ayrshire

Yes Your Entire Self set up ‘Open About Suicide’, a group for people affected by someone else’s suicidal thoughts. The group has been set up to give peer to peer support and allows people to express their feelings without being judged. There have already been positive stories from group participants on the success of coming together and sharing experiences.

6. Project focus on target groups and priority themes

Whilst recognising that many projects will progress a range of key priorities and be of benefit to a number of different groups, TSIs were also asked to indicate how many applications they received and how many allocations they made for projects that include a focus on each target group and priority theme of the Fund. The full set of figures for applications and awards in relation to each target group/themes are outlined in Annex F. Overall, we see that applications were received across the range of target group and priority themes. The numbers also indicate many projects include a focus of more than one target group and priority theme.

The highest levels of awards related to projects focusing on the following groups or priority themes:

  • Social isolation and loneliness (1026)
  • People facing socio economic disadvantage (819)
  • People with a long term health condition or disability (618)
  • Prevention (589)
  • Severe and multiple disadvantage (535)
  • Older people (482)

Given the timing of the Fund in response to the pandemic, it is unsurprising to see that isolation is so prominent, especially as prevention mental health projects will naturally have an onus on community and interpersonal connection.

The lowest levels of awards related to projects focusing on the following groups:

  • Refugees and those with no recourse to public funds (112)
  • LGBT+ communities (161)
  • People from a minority ethnic background (202)

These lowest numbers are consistent with groups that are often the least represented in health support, as well as the groups that can face the most health inequalities and stigma. Whilst it should be factored in that this is a society wide trend, these low numbers are still a concern and need to be looked at, regarding TSI work and wider Scottish Government support. Elsewhere in this paper the effort and success of various TSI areas in proactively reaching overlooked groups has been noted.

It is important to note that feedback from the Equality and Human Rights Forum (made up of external stakeholders) has highlighted the need for quality assurance/ moderation when it comes to a projects stating that it will be supporting a particular group to ensure we are gathering information on meaningful inclusion. Some themes like social isolation are addressed by a large variety of projects. However, certain often overlooked groups such as the LGBTI community require services that help overcome the health inequalities they experience. This makes it important to evaluate projects addressed at certain groups fully, as is the need to avoid tokenism from projects.

7. Spend

What we asked

We gained a detailed breakdown of spend across areas such as number of awards and amount of capital spend

Key observations

Overall, 2691 applications have been received to the Fund (table 1) and 1842 grants have been allocated. Of the £21 million total allocated to TSIs for onward distribution to community organisations, £78,536 was unable to be allocated by a small number of TSIs. Of the money spent, 6.7% has been allocated to capital spend.

Committed Spend


Number of applications received


Number of applications awarded funding using the £15 million of funding


Number of applications awarded funding using the additional £6 million of funding


Total number of applications awarded


Total number of organisations/projects receiving funding


Total funding made available


Total underspend


Total funding distributed to community organisations


Total amount allocated to capital spend (Note - include the amounts allocated to dedicated capital projects as well as the capital elements of hybrid capital/revenue projects)


Percentage of overall fund on Capital spend




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