Poppy Jaman, CEO of the City Mental Health Alliance, explains: “The COVID-19 pandemic is hurting the nation’s mental health. Without significant intervention this will get worse because, even as the physical impact of the virus slows, people will continue to deal with grief, uncertainty, anxiety and burnout.”
“At the same time, small voluntary, community and social enterprise mental health organisations, which can provide effective support, face a significant drop in income because of COVID-19. These organisations sit at the heart of our communities – from geographical communities, to health workers, people from BAME background, young people, LGBT+ or victims of domestic abuse. They have the agility to reach and help the people who need it most. But as there is a surge in demand for their services, they are at risk of closing their doors. It’s a potentially devastating perfect storm.”
In response, a coalition of mental health charities and social enterprises, including the Samaritans, Mind, Association of Mental Health Providers and the City Mental Health Alliance, came together to launch the Mental Health Sustainability Fund to encourage volunteering and fundraising from UK business to support VCSEs. The fund was launched in May, with a target of raising one million minutes of volunteering and £5 million. Today the coalition has announced that Bupa, Deloitte, PwC and Salesforce are offering volunteering support. This “money and minutes” Fund will be critical for sustaining the mental health support provided by small VCSEs in England and Wales. Goldman Sachs was the founding supporter by providing cornerstone funding of over £400 thousand to help establish the Fund.
The volunteering support from Bupa, Deloitte, PwC and Salesforce will be carefully matched with the needs of the mental health organisations to help sustain the delivery of vital services. Their combined support will be wide-ranging and may include technical, legal, financial, and governance.
Poppy Jaman continued: “This Fund represents a unique collaboration between UK business and the VCSE sector. We are grateful to Bupa, Deloitte, PwC and Salesforce for committing their time and skills to grow this Fund. This will go a long way to supporting the mental health of communities across the country, now and into the future.”
Alex Cole, Chief Customer & Corporate Affairs Officer, Bupa Group and Chair, Bupa UK Foundation commented: “Supporting people’s mental health is very close to our heart so we want to play our part in helping charities that are doing vital work to support people who might be very vulnerable at this time. We’re really pleased than we can volunteer our expertise for this very important initiative.”
Claire Burton, Director for Responsible Business at Deloitte, said: “Deloitte is proud to be a founding member of the City Mental Health Alliance and have a long-standing relationship with Mind. We know people’s mental health matters more than ever right now and our people will be helping social impact organisations by volunteering time, skills and experience to the Fund.”
David Adair, Head of Community Engagement, PwC said: “PwC are proud to be supporting this collaborative initiative of mental health charities and social enterprises by providing volunteers to increase their impact.”
Charlotte Kirby, Vice President of Global Strategic Relations at Salesforce said: “At Salesforce, we see the importance of mental health organisations in helping communities manage and recover from the situation Covid-19 has caused. Salesforce also sees the value of business as a platform for change, so we are proud that the professional skills of our staff will support these essential services that respond to the demands being placed on them. We thank the Mental Health Sustainability Fund, and coalition of mental health charities and social enterprises, for the opportunity to contribute to this great campaign.”
The process of matching the volunteering support with what VCSE organisations need will be co-ordinated by the Association of Mental Health Providers, the national representative organisation for VCSE mental health service providers, as the delivery partner of the Mental Health Sustainability Fund. A Coalition Board will set the criteria for funding applications, ensuring the right balance is struck between assessment rigour and speed of matching the charities’ needs with the appropriate skills and distribution of funding. It is expected that the call for funding and volunteering applications will be launched by early summer.
The Coalition is asking for more UK businesses to get involved. Businesses that would like to contribute money or minutes to the fund, please get in touch with Dania Hanif at the Association of Mental Health Providers: firstname.lastname@example.org