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Catch of the day: Community organisation secures £5k grant to launch free angling club offering mental health support for youths

Local charitable organisation, St. Paul’s Community Development Trust, has been awarded grant funding from leading charity, Living Well UK, to bring to life their plans for a community Angling Club. The Trust was awarded £5,000 to launch the club, which aims to support young people aged 14-17 who are experiencing social, emotional, and mental health challenges.

A result of Living Well UK’s recently launched grant scheme – which pledged over £60,000 to support voluntary, community, faith, and social enterprise (VCFSE) organisations – St. Paul’s Community Development Trust has been awarded £5k to launch and develop a community Angling Club.

With hopes to support young people aged 14-17 who are struggling with mental health challenges, the Angling Club will be held at Mosely Private Park for an initial six sessions over the course of one year, with up to six attendees per session. Those in attendance will be provided with all the starter equipment needed, free of charge, and will have the chance to learn from an experienced angler whilst also enjoying the peace of the natural environment around them.

The Trust hopes that the new club will give its members access to a mentally beneficial and rewarding activity that they may not have previously considered; one that will harness their energy and quiet their minds, whilst they concentrate on the exciting challenge of mastering a new skill. The club will be a safe and supportive place, where young people will have the option to discuss their personal challenges and mental health struggles with the staff if they wish, all of whom will have been trained in Youth Mental Health First Aid as a result of the grant money.

Those interested in attending the Angling Club, or those who would like to refer someone, can do so by visiting the St. Paul’s Community Trust website.

Speaking about the impact that Living Well UK’s grant will have, Anita Moore, manager of wellbeing and out-of-school services at St. Paul’s Community Development Trust, commented:

“It is well known that being in a natural environment is beneficial for your mental health and so we are incredibly excited to be able to offer this unique activity for young people in the local area who are experiencing mental health issues such as anxiety and low mood. Angling may not be everyone’s first choice, but we hope that the challenge of learning a new skill paired with the beautiful natural location will provide the club members with a welcome break from reality.

“We are hugely grateful to Living Well UK for choosing us as one of the recipients of the grant. As a result of the money we received, we have already been able to purchase angling starter kits, meaning that this activity will be accessible to all young people – not just those who can afford the equipment. We have also been able to train our staff in Youth Mental Health First Aid, in the hopes that they will be able to lend a trained ear to those attendees who might be struggling with their mental health. We can’t wait for the club to be fully up and running and hope that it will benefit attendees and encourage them to get involved in lots of other activities outdoors, knowing how good it feels to be out in green spaces.”

Commenting on the recent grant schemes, Ben Howells, CEO of Living Well UK, added:

“We were overwhelmed by the response to our grant scheme and received a huge number of applications all from incredibly worthy causes across the West Midlands. It was no easy task trying to choose only seven causes to award grants to, in our eyes they’re all just as worthy of the funding as each other! However, we couldn’t be prouder of the projects that we have selected and believe that they’ll continue to make a difference in their communities by putting the finding to good use.

“Each organisation receiving a grant is so unique, but their common goal to deliver community-led mental health and wellbeing support truly shines through in everything they do. St. Paul’s Community Development Trust is an excellent representation of that; not only will their proposed Angling Club give young people in the community a healthy outlet for their energy – one which positively impacts their mental health – but it will also offer them a safe space where they can talk to trained professionals about mental health struggles. Something that they otherwise might not be able to do. All of this whilst learning a new skill… we can’t wait to see it in action!”

St. Paul’s Community Development Trust was just one of seven recipients of grant funding from Living Well UK. Others included the homeless support charity, SIFA Fireside – which was awarded £20,000 to employ a Mental Health Pathway Navigator for its clients – and the Aston Villa Foundation, which 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.

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Notes to editor: Living Well Consortium is the West Midlands’ leading mental health consortium, which consists 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 well-being 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.

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