Almost £750,000 awarded to mental health charities

Almost three quarters of a million pounds has been awarded to community groups that help prevent people developing serious mental health problems.

Dorset Community Foundation has awarded more than £725,000 to 22 groups across the county.

The funding is part of the foundation's Community Wellbeing and Mental Health fund.

It is designed to reduce pressure on the NHS and complement ongoing mental health schemes in the county.

Among the groups supported is Options Wellbeing Trust in Bournemouth, which has been awarded £59,000 over two years to launch a peer support network for people with eating disorders.

Wendy Lee, the trust’s head of health and wellbeing, said the grant was "fantastic", adding: "We would not have been able to launch this network without it."

The fund is run in collaboration with NHS Dorset and Community Action Network.

It was set up to support community-based non-clinical services and activities that help adults improve their wellbeing and mental health.

Access Dorset, which runs activity sessions for disabled people in Bournemouth, has been awarded £60,000 over two years.

Chief executive Jonathan Waddington-Jones said: “The grant is going to be transformational in what we can provide for the disabled people we support.”

“It's a huge boost not only in cash terms but in terms of recognition of the good work that we're doing here,” he added.

Dorset Community Foundation chief executive Grant Robson said the fund had been a "major piece of work", and that they were "delighted" they had been been able to deliver a programme that "meets NHS Dorset’s objectives".

A second application round for grants of up to £10,000 will take place in the summer.

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