New scheme launched to support resilience of charity staff and volunteers

The City Bridge Trust is calling for charities to design and deliver six-month pilot projects to aid the mental health of charity staff and volunteers.

The call for initial expressions of interest follows the London funders’ report The resilience of people in community-facing organisations: what’s the role of funders? which found a growing need to protect the mental health of charity staff and volunteers.

The report revealed community-facing workers who directly interact with users, such as youth counsellors and advice workers, are experiencing increased pressure and demand, leading to concerns about their resilience.

A panel of professionals working in the mental health and charitable sectors will help shortlist the initial expressions of interest, from which a selection will be invited to work up fuller proposals. Final recommendations for funding these programmes will also be made by this panel.

The successful projects will receive funding from City Bridge Trust. The aim is to see pilot projects start in October 2019 and be completed by March 2020.

City Bridge Trust, the City of London Corporation’s charitable funder, will commission an external evaluation of the pilot projects, to be shared during Mental Health Awareness Week 2020. The findings will help design and deliver more impactful resilience programmes in the future.

Commenting, City Bridge Trust’s committee chairman, Dhruv Patel said: “Charity staff and volunteers provide an essential service to customers and clients, but they can often feel overwhelmed.

“Dealing with such complex emotional issues can result in anxiety, depression, burnout, and even secondary trauma. We want charity staff and volunteers to have the right skills to work effectively without being personally compromised.

“Through City Bridge Trust, we are committed to supporting the people that are the first point of call for so many of us.”

City Bridge Trust is London’s biggest independent grant giver, making grants of £20 million a year to tackle disadvantage across the capital.

The Trust has awarded around 8,000 grants totalling over £400 million since it first began in 1995. It helps achieve the City Corporation’s aim of changing the lives of hundreds of thousands of Londoners.

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