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Cheshire Community Foundation chosen to manage prestigious national community fund

Cheshire Community Foundation has been selected to manage a £2.5million national programme that will transform the lives of thousands of vulnerable people.

Assura plc has launched the Assura Community Fund to support health-improving work by charities and local groups in the communities around the company’s GP surgery, primary care and treatment centre buildings around the country.

In Cheshire alone, there are six Assura practices – 2 in Northwich, 2 in Macclesfield, one in Murdishaw and one in Winsford. Charities within 15 miles of these practices are eligible to apply for a grant.

There is £550,000 available across the country in 2020 for one-year grants. The minimum grant is £1,000 and the maximum £5,000. The programme expects to award over 100 grants during the next 12 months to charities.

The programme wishes to support people of all ages including:

•  Vulnerable people affected by the Covid-19 pandemic who need support for their mental health and wellbeing;

•  People with mild to moderate depression and anxiety;

•  People with long-term and enduring mental health problems;

•  People that frequently use primary care services;

•  Vulnerable groups and people who are socially isolated (low-income single mothers, recently bereaved elderly people, people with chronic physical illness, those recently made redundant, those with caring responsibilities and newly arrived communities);

•  People living in places with the highest levels of disadvantage (due to income deprivation, poorly paid jobs, lack of access to support) who are often at a much higher risk of experiencing mental health problems.

A further £200,000 is available for more strategic grant making in Cheshire.

The programme particularly recognises that many people living in deprivation and isolation often begin to experience physical decline or mental health deterioration in their 40s/50s and can find it difficult to secure or remain in employment. 

Equally, middle aged adults looking after young children at the same time as caring for older parents are often vulnerable to stress or mental health issues (many are starting families later and may have ‘sandwich caring’ responsibilities). Therefore increasingly, women in their 40s and 50s are more likely to face the mental health pressure of simultaneously shouldering responsibility for young and old.

Zoe Sheppard, CEO of Cheshire Community Foundation, said: “We are honoured to have been chosen by Assura to manage this largescale and hugely important national community fund.

“Working with charities which have a focus on helping people of all ages affected by mental health issues has been a focus of CCF for some time. This has included our own Young Minds Matter programme which has made such a difference to so many young people’s lives during the last couple of years.”

Assura’s CEO, Jonathan Murphy, said: “The Assura Community Fund has been a long time in the planning for launch this year but with the impact of coronavirus, we know there’s now a particularly important role for it to play. The roots of the fund’s work are very firmly in the relationship between local charity projects, primary care and social prescribing, and those areas will be vital in helping our communities recover in the months and years to come.”

Programme activities must be targeted towards improving mental and emotional health and wellbeing, gaining support for life challenges and providing increased activities and opportunities to learn new skills, to enable improved self-confidence, self-esteem and a strong sense of belonging.

For more information or to apply for an Assura Community Fund grant visit https://ukcf.secure.force.com/forms/CheshireCF/AssuraCommunityFundGrantsProgramme

Pictured - Zoe Sheppard, CEO of Cheshire Community Foundation.

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