News By Wire

Aston Villa Foundation And SIFA Fireside Amongst Causes To Receive Mental Health Grant Funding

Local organisations have this week been awarded grant funding from leading charity, Living Well UK, to bring to life mental health programmes for people in Birmingham and Solihull. The grants – totalling almost £60,000 collectively – will be distributed to seven causes, including SIFA Fireside and Aston Villa Foundation.

Covering everything – from drama productions and walking therapy programmes, through to dedicated gardening spaces and angling clubs for young people – the funded projects aim to improve the wellbeing of their benefactors.

SIFA Fireside, the homeless support charity, has been awarded £20,000 to employ a Mental Health Pathway Navigator for its clients. The new hire will provide on-site mental health expertise, including crisis intervention, signposting to other support services, and health and wellbeing workshops – as well as training for SIFA’s team of 35 staff.

Meanwhile, Aston Villa Foundation will be using the funding to design a rehabilitation programme specifically for women with complex needs who have previously been detained under the Mental Health Act. Building on its work with the NHS Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust (BSMHFT), Aston Villa Foundation’s new project will complement the women’s existing treatment and recovery plans, providing 24 weeks of physical activity sessions: from low intensity training exercises, to ‘soccercise’ and dance.

Speaking about the impact that Living Well UK’s grant will have, SIFA Fireside’s Chief Executive Officer Natalie Allen commented:

“We are hugely grateful to the Living Well UK team for choosing us as one of the grant scheme recipients. This funding will allow us to recruit a much-needed Mental Health Pathway Navigator, who will bridge a vital gap between our clients and the existing systems in the city.

45% of people experiencing homelessness have been diagnosed with a mental health issue – which rises exponentially to 80% of people sleeping rough – with a further 22% reporting an undiagnosed mental health issue. Through this dedicated role, we will be able to get more people mental health support that will not only serve them today but will help break the cycle of homelessness long-term too.”

In addition to SIFA Fireside and Aston Villa Foundation, the other grant awardees are:

  • Disability Resource Centre, which will be debuting a mindfulness walking project, combining walking and meditation. The programme intends to support people who are struggling with deteriorating mobility.
  • Sudden Productions, a theatre company that specialises in creating true-to-life arts schemes. Sudden Productions will be running ISOLATED, a drama project about the impact of the pandemic on mental health, that is created both by and for young people.
  • St Paul’s Community Development Trust, which is establishing an angling club for young people with mental health issues and learning difficulties. The activity will run in Moseley Private Park, giving young people the opportunity to learn a new skill and talk openly about how they are feeling.
  • Servol Community Services, who provide accommodation for those experiencing mental health problems in the West Midlands. Servol’s grant will go towards developing a communal garden at its Janet Fay House in Balsall Heath, allowing residents to grow vegetables, take part in yoga and tai chi classes, and socialise with each other.

Also receiving a grant is iSE – the Initiative for Social Entrepreneurs – for its social enterprise start-up incubator, FUSE. iSE will use its funding to offer grants to start-ups who are hoping to develop or test their ideas, as well as a place on its FUSE programme, giving them masterclasses, one-to-one mentoring, peer support, and networking opportunities.

Ben Howells, the CEO of Living Well UK, said:

“We were overwhelmed by the response to our grant scheme, receiving a huge number of applications from incredibly worthy causes across the region, so to only be able to choose seven was very difficult! However, we couldn’t be prouder of the projects that we have selected.

“Each one is so unique, but their unanimous mission to deliver community-led mental health and wellbeing support truly shines through. I am certain that each cause will have a fantastic impact across Birmingham and Solihull, and I know I speak on behalf of everyone at Living Well UK when I say that we can’t wait to see the programmes in action!”

Press release information


Image File:

Living Well UK’s Sally Munday (L) presents grant to SIFA Fireside’s Natalie Allen (R)

Area / Region:

Topics / Tags:

Notes to editors

Living Well Consortium is the West Midlands’ leading mental health consortium, which consist of over 30 Third Sector mental health organisations. These consortium members each use their experience and networks to work in a cross-collaborative way, to ensure that those who are looking for ways to access mental health and wellbeing support can do so in an efficient way. These Third Sector members work to relieve the pressure felt by the medical services, by delivering community-based and community-oriented services that focus on prevention, wellness, recovery, and resilience, in turn building a more sustainable and long-lasting solution. To deliver this approach using the members’ collective knowledge, resource, and capacity, Living Well UK is the public-facing charity that brings the work of the consortium members to the people of the West Midlands. This charity arm provides free mental health support to people living in Birmingham and Solihull, promoting wellbeing from an individual and community perspective to help find practical solutions to life’s challenges. These include online stress and anxiety courses, counselling and self-help, creative therapies, and CBT, drawing on the knowledge of a consortium of expert members across the city. For information about the work of the consortium, you can visit Living Well UK’s website.

Media contact

Media contact name:

Sarah White

Media contact business / organisation:


Media contact telephone:


Media contact email:

All done!
Thank you for subscribing.

Email Subscription