FAQ's for Community Mental Health & Wellbeing Fund
Will there be any continuation or recurring funding?
Yes a second year of the Fund and of the fund administration and capacity building grant to TSIs and the has been planned, subject to approval of the Scottish budget.
It should be noted that funding will be time limited and, therefore, applications to the fund should be sought for time limited projects and tests of change. Any funding towards core revenue costs will be short-term to support additional demands resulting from the COVID pandemic. In relation to core revenue costs, this should be made clear to organisations funded, who should be asked to provide details of their exit strategy to ensure ongoing funding can be found from another source.
What size of organisation can apply for the fund?
The Communities Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund has been established to provide grants to small, grassroots community groups and organisations (i.e. voluntary or community organisations; registered charities; groups or clubs; not-for-profit companies or Community Interest Companies, and community councils).
We would expect the majority of grants in each local area will go to small to medium sized groups and organisations – with incomes ranging from under £25,000 per annum up to £1 million per annum.
What size of grant can awarded to applicants?
This is a matter for discussion but is proposed that the minimum grant be set at £500 and the maximum at £10,000.
We want to make sure the process is accessible to all, and focused on outcomes and funds projects which best meet the identified need. We propose that there might be two funding streams, with a lighter touch ‘fast track’ process for smaller amounts. This ensures an approach where the level of effort in the application and monitoring and evaluation process is proportionate to the amount applied for and awarded. The two streams could be £500-£2500 and £2501 to £10000.
When does the Fund have to be spent by?
This Fund covers financial year 2021-22 and ABTSI will not hold any funds allocated by the Scottish Government for 2021-22 beyond 31 March 2022. In practice this means dispersed funding to agreed projects by 31 March 2022 at the latest and be able to provide evidence of this through the agreed monitoring process. See question 9 for spending by groups.
Does the fund have to be used for new projects, or can it be used for expanding projects or continuing existing projects?
This was a matter reserved for discussion locally and following discussion on 15th November 2021 it was agreed that existing projects could be funded as long as it was not used to replace statutory funding. It however should be noted that whilst the Fund can support the expansion of existing activities, it is intended to provide additionality, not replacement funding.
What can the Fund be used for - i.e. rent, equipment, staff costs, materials, etc.?
The Fund is primarily focused on supporting operational and revenue costs – e.g. volunteer and one off fixed term staff costs, expenses, equipment, etc - to fulfil the activity. For this year of funding, small capital spend up to £10,000 is eligible.
Can grants be used as a part of a match funding process?
The application process seeks to identify whether other funding has been applied for and whether it is needed to make the project viable. There is no requirement for match funding but the Argyll and Bute Fund Reference Group will want to be satisfied that the project is financially viable.
How will the Fund be monitored?
We will require interim and year-end reports on the Fund’s progress.
Local Argyll and Bute processes will be adopted to monitor grant awards and progress. These should aim to be light touch. We will aim to reference the good practice Harmonising Reporting template – found at: Harmonising Reporting - Evaluation Support Scotland.
Further information on requirements and templates to follow.
Once funding has been issued to a third sector group or organisation, within what timeframe does that funding has to be spent? Scottish Government expect some outcomes in the first year, 2021-22, if the grant is awarded early enough but would expect to see more substantial outcomes in 2022-23. All funds would need to be spent by the end of 2022-23.
If there is a second year of funding, will the applicants who have received funding in year one be able to reapply for year two?
There will be additional guidance provided regarding Year two of the Fund (which will be informed by Year 1) but at this stage it is anticipated that reapplications/renewals will be accepted.
Are school Parent Councils eligible to apply for the fund? They aren't third sector organisations (as they are statutory).
Yes they are eligible to apply, subject to the following conditions:
Condition 1: The funded activities should meet the aims of the Fund and specifically should focus on supporting adults not children.
For information their functions are around:
- collaborating with the school in supporting children’s schooling and learning;
- representing the views of parents;
- promoting and supporting contact between the school, parents, pupils, providers of nursery education and the community, and;
- communicating or reporting to the Parent Forum.
Condition 2: Any Parent Council applying to this fund should have a statutory duty to keep proper accounts, for which there may already be legal and regulatory requirements for them to do so depending on the status of the Parent Council, for example, some parent councils are registered with OSCA as a charity.
For information, Parent Councils are not statutory. Education authorities have a statutory role in establishing a parent council, however once the council is established, the education authority does not control it, nor can it be said that a parent council acts on behalf of the education authority or a school under the authority’s management in relation to which the Parent Council has been established; it acts on behalf of the parent forum, i.e. the parent of the pupils in attendance at the school.
Can an organisation use this fund to match fund another project that is already funded by Scottish Government?
Yes, but it must be for additional activity and things cannot be double funded.
Promotion of religion is ruled out, does this prevent churches and other religious bodies applying?
No, but the activity must be consistent with the aims of the fund and cannot be used to fund religious or campaigning activities.
Can counselling and therapy services be supported by the fund? Is there any further guidance on what other types of therapeutic interventions (other than therapy and counselling) might be eligible?
The funding is intended to support small scale, grassroots community projects, activities and initiatives that promote good mental health and wellbeing and/or mitigate and protect against the impact of distress and mental ill health within the adult population. The focus of the Fund is not about supporting clinical treatment services in the community – which may include counselling and CBT for instance - rather to provide a range of broader community supports that can complement clinical care.
However, we recognise that some community based complementary services as part of their offer also provide counselling, as well as other therapeutic services. Therefore, these are not excluded from the fund.
It is worth bearing in mind:
- the Fund is an opportunity to support a wide range of approaches to providing emotional and practical support to individuals for example peer support practices.
- there are other funding streams which can support counselling services in various realms (for example, the Scottish Government Survivors of Childhood Abuse Support Fund and Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Fund)
- Any proposals that do involve potential for clinically trained staff delivering therapeutic interventions, there should be clear arrangements in place for clinical supervision and governance. Specifically with regards to counselling support, it should conform to agreed professional standards, such as those provided by COSCA and BACP. Formal counselling should be undertaken by a professional counsellor, acting in their specialist role, and in accordance with a strict code of ethics, which requires confidentially, accountability and clinical supervision. The TSI needs to ensure that funded organisations are aware of these arrangements.
The guidance states that unconstituted groups can apply. How can that happen?
ABTSI can support unconstituted groups either by supporting them to be become constituted, or by providing small value grants (for example up to £5,000) for wellbeing support and capacity building purposes.
We can also allow a constituted entity (that meets criteria set out in guidance) to hold a grant for the unconstituted group. ABTSI as grant giver would need to be satisfied with arrangements in terms of assurance around monitoring and accountability of spend.
Is it legitimate for TSIs to transfer funding to another organisation who would then distribute small grants to other organisations?
It is considered not appropriate for TSIs to transfer funding to another organisation for distribution.
Capital projects - in year 1 the maximum to apply is £10k. What will this be in year 2?
Guidance for Year 2 will be provided (informed by Year 1), with no decisions currently made around this level of detail.
Will the Scottish Government priorities for the fund change in year 2?
There will need to be consideration of Ministerial priorities and feedback from TSIs on the first round - informed by evaluation activity which should help inform future direction.