Mental health project receives lottery funding

A collaboration project to support those with mental health conditions has been awarded funding by the Big Lottery’s Reaching Communities Fund.

The ‘Better Together’ project is a collaboration of three Lincoln charities: Development Plus, Abbey Access Training and Green Synergy

The projects focus is to help people overcome barriers and move forward in their lives.

CEO of Development Plus, Lynsey Collinson, said: ” It will support, enable and empower people who are experiencing mental health conditions to come together to improve their personal health and well-being.” 

She added: “The project will fulfil this aim by offering participants a tailor made, supportive, flexible programme of mentoring, coaching, therapeutic activities, volunteering, training, work experience and support into employment.” 

Although the three charities have worked together in the past, this is the first time they have been funded collectively. 

Gail Dunn from Abbey Access Training, said: “We hope that the project is successful in supporting 240 individuals improve their mental health and wellbeing and that this is a catalyst for further funding in the future.”

She said the aim of the programme is to “provide a secure and safe wrap around support service to help individuals move forward with their lives and improve their mental health.”

Totalling £356,388, the project will run for three years funding five new posts, project costs, equipment and beneficiary costs.

Ms Collinson said: We are solely grant funded with all of our projects falling under a Health & Wellbeing banner.  Each of our projects are unique to the City, with no other charity running programmes such as ours.

Ms Dunn added:  “It is so important for us to gain this funding as there is a decline in provision in the city.”

Cerri, 37, who moved to Lincoln in 2008 began working with Development Plus after suffering with drug addiction and depression.

Working with Development Plus on the charities “Step in the Right Direction“ programme, Cerri was encouraged to complete an access to university course, and went on to pursue a degree in health and social care, eventually graduating the University of Lincoln with a first class honours degree.

She said: “The support that Development Plus gave me was just pushing me when I wasn’t willing to push myself. Once you’ve done one baby step, you look back and feel proud that you’ve done that.”

 Cerri added: “It literally changed my life.”

Development Plus currently runs multiple projects, all of which address needs including poor mental health, low self-esteem and lack of confidence.

Ms Collinson said: “The introduction of the “Better Together” project enables us to broaden our reach of individuals across the city who need the one to coaching and mentoring support we can offer.”