Ecominds offers pots of Big Lottery Fund cash to local environmental projects
Posted Thursday 18 September 2008
Mental health charity Mind will celebrate the launch of Ecominds, its new multi-million pound grant giving scheme, by holding a garden party at Meanwhile Wildlife Gardens in London today (Thursday 18 September). Ecominds is funded by the Big Lottery Fund’s Changing Spaces programme and will finance environmental projects that bring people together with and without experience of mental health problems with the aim of tackling stigma, promoting mental wellbeing and enhancing the local environment.
Over the next five years, Ecominds will distribute £7.5m to 125 innovative eco-projects across England. Community groups, schools and businesses are all eligible to apply and must show how they will involve local people with mental health problems in their plans. Ideas for projects could include a school getting together with members of their local Mind association to beautify a run-down park or a community art group creating sculptures for the grounds of a local mental health hospital.
Mind’s Chief Executive Paul Farmer said:
"Ecominds marks the start of a new and exciting approach to tackling mental health stigma. By bringing people together in a fun and informal way we hope to challenge misconceptions about mental health problems and plant the seeds for new understandings.
"Getting active outdoors is excellent for boosting your mental wellbeing and reducing feelings of anxiety and depression. Ecominds will be a fantastic way for everyone to take advantage of nature’s healing powers while working towards building a better environment for all."
Big Lottery Fund’s Head of England Committee Sanjay Dighe said:
"The Big Lottery Fund is very proud to support the Ecominds scheme, which will have such a positive impact on people’s wellbeing. Projects funded through the programme will help to raise mental health awareness and bring people together, while also improving the environment for local communities across England."
Guests at the event will be invited to write down their thoughts about mental health and the environment and attach these to Mind’s ‘Tree of Life’. The tree will make an annual appearance at Ecominds events so that when the scheme comes to a close in 2012 Mind will be able to see just how much people’s perceptions about mental health have changed.
Meanwhile Wildlife Gardens, where the garden party will take place, is a great example of how an environmental project can help people with mental health problems with their recovery. The gardens run by Kensington and Chelsea Mind help people with experience of mental distress achieve qualifications in horticulture and gain the confidence and skills needed to move back into employment. The group will receive the first application pack to apply for Ecominds funding so they can further their work with the local community.
Kensington and Chelsea Mind’s Training and Employment Manager David Scoffield said:
"Kensington and Chelsea Mind has a lot of experience of supporting people's recovery and vocational goals through working with ecotherapy and horticulture. Ecominds presents a great new opportunity for developing partnership work around individual and community mental health promotion, focussed on the benefits of working with nature and the environment."
Notes to editors
- The Ecominds launch event will be held at Meanwhile Wildlife Gardens, Kensington, London, W10 5BN on Thursday 18 September from 1pm to 3pm. If you would like to attend please contact Alison Kerry in the Mind press office on 020 8522 1743 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Ecominds is a new funding scheme administered by the mental health charity Mind. For more information about Ecominds or Mind please contact the Mind media team on T: 020 8522 1743 M: 07850 788514 E: email@example.com ISDN line available: 020 8221 0817.
- Mind is the leading mental health charity in England and Wales. We work to create a better life for everyone with experience of mental distress. www.mind.org.uk
- Please note that Mind is not an acronym and should be set in title case.
- The Big Lottery Fund’s Changing Spaces programme was launched in November 2005 to help communities enjoy and improve their local environments. The programme is funding a range of activities from local food schemes and farmers markets, to education projects teaching people about the environment. Mind was appointed as a Changing Spaces award partner, responsible for distributing £8.8 million through its Ecominds scheme.
- The Big Lottery Fund, the largest of the National Lottery good cause distributors, has been rolling out grants to health, education, environment and charitable causes across the UK since its inception in June 2004. It was established by Parliament on 1 December 2006.
- Big Lottery Fund Press Office: 020 7211 1888 Out of hours: 07867 500 572
- Public enquiries line: 08454 102030 Textphone: 08456 021 659
Full details of the work of the Big Lottery Fund, its programmes and awards are available on the website: http://www.biglotteryfund.org.uk