Thursday, July 25, 2024
Community UpdateCoronavirusHealthSlider

Extra funds for local Covid-19 mental health

Surviving to Thriving, a joint initiative between Greenham Trust and West Berkshire Council, is aimed at all not-for-profit organisations in West Berkshire that provide support to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on mental health and wellbeing.

The charitable appeal has exceeded its £300,000 target following a £50,000 boost from West Berkshire Council, which has been matched by Greenham Trust. With £109,000 in funding available to be awarded, Surviving to Thriving is calling on all local charitable organisations, voluntary groups, sports clubs and non-profits (including schools and other educational facilities) delivering vital services aimed at supporting mental health issues related to the pandemic, to apply for funding today.

The Surviving to Thriving Appeal has already provided financial help, totaling £201,000, to 24 such organisations to date. Beneficiaries include the Corn Exchange, a participatory arts programme for vulnerable and remote groups affected by the pandemic. The organisation has received £29,600 towards its Links to Thrive campaign, which will support health, wellbeing and resilience through the provision of free creative activities in the West Berkshire area. Dingley’s Promise, which offers one-to-one support for families with children with disabilities, has also been awarded £8,000, while Newbury Family Counselling Service, Time to Talk and No5 Young People have received grants to facilitate additional counselling sessions for struggling families and young people in West Berkshire.

Charity ‘Eight Bells for Mental Health’ was one of the local organisations that received funding from the Surviving to Thriving Appeal.

was in a desperate place when a local homeless charity referred me to Eight Bells for some support. My marriage had broken up, I was too mentally fragile to hold down a job and was sofa surfing with friends. Life felt pretty bleak, I had no money, had lost my self-respect and was facing living on the streets My young son was the only thing that kept me going. I arrived at Eight Bells and collapsed in an emotional heap, I could barely speak for crying and was at the lowest point I’ve ever been in my life. I felt safe there and among people who understood. I’ve made a lot of friends at Eight Bells and enjoy going to its drop-in sessions each week. It’s a place where you can relax and be yourself, it’s a uniquely supporting community and so many of us would be lost without it” said Marc from Thatcham, a user of the Eight Bells’ services.

“The pandemic and resulting lockdowns and restrictions have changed life as we know it beyond recognition, which has inevitably increased pressures on everyone in one way or another,” said Chris Boulton, CEO of Greenham Trust. “COVID-19 has affected people in a variety of different ways, not least when it comes to mental health and wellbeing. That’s why we’ve been so delighted to work in partnership with West Berkshire Council on the Surviving to Thriving fund, which is providing much needed support to voluntary, charitable and community groups in our local area. With an uncertain and challenging winter ahead, we hope to see more and more organisations apply for grant funding to support vulnerable people in the long journey to recovery.”

Graham Bridgman, Deputy Leader of West Berkshire Council and Executive Member for Health and Wellbeing said: “We are delighted to have distributed over £200,000 in grants to charities and community groups across West Berkshire, and now to have an additional £109,000 to help charitable organisations offer more local support to those who most need help to recover from the on-going impact of the pandemic.”

For further information and to apply for grant funding today, please visit