Extra £100,000 for mental health care in West Lothian

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West Lothian has managed to secure an additional £100,000 for a mental health and well-being scheme which was oversubscribed by double last year.

The local Voluntary Sector Gateway (VSG) was initially allocated £413,000 to distribute to grassroots groups working to improve mental health in the wake of the two years of lockdowns during the height of the coronavirus pandemic.

When the fund was announced last Autumn bids for more than £1.2 million came in.

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The VSG and fellow organisations across Scotland went back to Holyrood to ask for more money and the Scottish Government allocated a further £6m to what originally had been a national pot of £15m.

Stock photo by John Devlin.Stock photo by John Devlin.
Stock photo by John Devlin.

Alan McCloskey the CEO of West Lothian’s Gateway told a meeting of the council Voluntary Organisations Policy development and Scrutiny Panel what this means for the county.

He said: “Following representations made by TSIs [Third Sector Interfaces] to the Scottish Government a further £6m nationally was secured.

"We had two applications on our `reserve` list and secured an extra £100,000 to support their bids, bringing the total monies distributed locally up to £570,000.”

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He added: “Round 2 focused on small grants (up to £10k) for new applicants that hadn’t submitted bids in round 1.

"We had £58,000 available and allocated in full – we even had surplus to further support orgs that got partial awards in phase 1.”

A total of 32 groups received funding from the pot. The Scottish Government’s Mental Health Team has confirmed that the same level of funding – £15 million – has been agreed for 2022/23.

The details and allocations are still to be worked out with further news expected later this month or into early July.

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In a separate funding development West Lothian Council’s Social Policy department has agreed that VSGWL will administer a new £70,000 fund to assist with the promotion and roll-out of the Carers Strategy in the Third Sector.

Organisations can apply for £1,000 – £5,000 to support unpaid carers.

An assessment panel has been established to consider applications.

Decisions will be confirmed later this month.