Emergency grant scheme opens doors for mental health

Richmond Fellowship has praised an emergency grant scheme after a new report highlighted the benefits it brings to people with mental health problems experiencing extreme poverty or disadvantage.

The Open Doors report released this week showed that emergency grants provided by Family Action helped people, especially those with mental health problems, recover their independence while providing them with safety and stability in their home.

National mental health charity Richmond Fellowship has helped a number of vulnerable people who use its services to access the scheme and receive life changing grants.

For example, Jason Smith (name changed for anonymity) has been supported by Richmond Fellowship for a number of years who helped him access independent accommodation following a series of mental health problems. However, without a washing machine or freezer he was struggling to store food or wash his clothes, vastly affecting his self esteem and reducing his independence and development.

Richmond Fellowship was able to apply for a Family Action grant on Jason’s behalf, securing him enough money for new domestic appliances.

Jason’s support worker, Janette Gaunt, said: “The direct monetary intervention provided by the grant has helped Jason buy a freezer and washing machine to secure his independence and aid development.

“From this we’ve seen a huge boost in his confidence and self esteem. Whilst the grants provide a short term practical respite for individuals in need of help, the report shows just how beneficial this aid is to their overall mental wellbeing.”

Between August 2013 and November 2014, Family Action provided nearly £150,000 worth of grants to 464 people at an average of £320 per grant.

Richmond Fellowship chief executive Derek Caren said: “The Open Doors report shows the benefit of emergency grants to those experiencing extreme poverty or severe and multiple disadvantage.

“The success stories that we’ve heard about have been fantastic, a real testament to the benefit of emergency monetary intervention for individuals who need that extra bit of help getting their life back on track.”

For more information on the Open Doors Grant Programme from Family Action, visit: www.family-action.org.uk/what-we-do/grants/open-doors-grants-programme/

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