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Hundreds of London charity workers to get mental health support #WorldMentalHealthAwarenessDay2019

Hundreds of people working for the capital’s charities will receive specialist mental health support after a report revealed they are facing growing pressure.

City Bridge Trust, the City Corporation’s charitable funder, awarded over £79,000 to six London charities for the projects. One of the projects is in Tower Hamlets.

The grants follow a London Funders’ study* which found a critical need to protect the mental health of charity staff and volunteers.

It said community-facing workers, such as youth counsellors and advice workers, are experiencing increased pressure and demand, leading to concerns about their resilience.

Funding includes:

  • £9,710 to Toynbee Hall in East London, which works to combat poverty by providing free, impartial legal advice to the public. Covering housing, immigration and employment, the charity is often the last hope for people in desperate circumstances. The funding will provide education and training in emotional resilience for advice staff.
  • £9,756 to Fine Cell Work in Victoria, makes handmade products in UK prisons. The needlework sessions boost the self-worth of prisoners, instill self-discipline, foster hope and encourage them to lead independent, crime-free lives. The grant will provide safeguarding and mental health support to staff through counselling and mental health workshops.
  • £5,015 to The Listening Place, in Pimlico, which supports suicidal people through face-to-face, confidential support. Funding will deliver weekly personalised counselling support sessions for staff, focussing on self-care and self-compassion.

Dhruv Patel, Chairman of the City of London Corporation’s City Bridge Trust Committee, said:

“Charity staff provide an essential service to people right across the UK, but they can often feel overwhelmed.

“Dealing with such complex emotional issues can result in anxiety, depression, burnout, and even secondary trauma.

“Charities are the beating heart of our communities. We want to help them work as effectively as possible and support their staff to work effectively without being personally compromised.”

Jasmine Ashley-Tagoe, Free Legal Advice Centre Manager at Toynbee Hall, said:

“The provision of free legal advice in the UK is becoming increasingly challenging.

“Cuts to mental health services have resulted in more clients with uncontrolled and unmanaged mental health illnesses.

“As a result, frontline staff are frequently exposed to troubling and unexpected situations. This can make it difficult for them to engage with clients and build the rapport and trust required to help them.

“It can also have an adverse effect on the wellbeing of frontline staff. This funding will help us provide a positive, inclusive and balanced service for clients while protecting the wellbeing of staff.”

City Bridge Trust is the funding arm of the City of London Corporation’s charity, Bridge House Estates. It is London’s biggest independent grant giver, making grants of £20 million a year to tackle disadvantage across the capital.

The Trust has awarded around 8,000 grants totalling over £400 million since it first began in 1995. It helps achieve the City Corporation’s aim of changing the lives of hundreds of thousands of Londoners.

Full list of grants:

  • The Clement James Centre – £23,024 (Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea)
  • Fine Cell Work – £9,756 (Westminster)
  • Just For Kids Law – £22,500 (Islington)
  • Mind in the City, Hackney and Waltham Forest – £9,039 (Hackney)
  • The Listening Place – £5,015 (Westminster)
  • Toynbee Hall – £9,710 (Tower Hamlets)

City Bridge Trust’s learning partner, the social enterprise Renaisi, will evaluate the programme. Their focus will be on understanding what types of intervention develop personal resilience in the voluntary sector and how best to support the resilience of frontline workers. They will share their learning in a report and at an event in summer 2020.

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