Mental health charity receives £10,000 funding boost from believe housing

Jun 12, 2020 | Local News

A successful mental health charity will be able to carry on supporting vulnerable people through the coronavirus pandemic thanks to funding from a leading housing association.

Gilesgate based RT Projects has received £10,000 from believe housing to allow it to continue providing arts based mental health support during the coronavirus pandemic.

The long-established charity is normally based in a converted bungalow in Gilesgate where it delivers activities like printmaking, sculpture, woodcarving, creative writing and textiles. But with face-to-face art sessions impossible, the charity was concerned that many of its vulnerable regulars would be left with no interaction when they needed it most.

The new funding from believe housing will help RT Projects to create digital opportunities to tackle the effects of social isolation while physical activities aren’t an option. An online forum has been set up to provide a safe space. Packs of arts and crafts equipment have also been sent out to everyone and online sessions will be delivered to provide the support normally provided face-to-face.

The funding will also ensure that RT Projects’ traditional base will be able to reopen as soon as the coronavirus pandemic has subsided.

RT Projects has been delivering mental health projects for around 13 years. Scores of lives have been turned around by the staff and volunteers who work for the charity. Some of those referred have even gone on to study art at college and university. The funding award is the latest in a series of grants awarded to RT Projects by believe housing as part of its community investment programme.

Community Investment Officer Debbie Howe from believe housing said: “RT Projects do make a huge difference to dozens of people every year who really need the unique support offered. The coronavirus pandemic certainly hasn’t reduced that need, so we were very keen to provide funding to ensure the good work can continue; albeit digitally.

“We’ve created new funding streams and targeted other resources at providing extra resources for communities during the coronavirus pandemic. This grant is a perfect example.”

Emma Beattie from RT Projects said: “At ‘The Open Art Surgery’ our little artist’s studio in Gilesgate Durham, we offer care and support as well as art activities, which we believe are the main ingredients for recovery.”

“We really value our partnership with believe housing. With their support we are able to continue our life saving work.”

believe housing has also expanded its Coronavirus Crisis Fund. Applications for grants of up to £500 are still open to community groups, organisations or schools that work in areas covered by believe housing. A simple application process will be maintained to ensure that fast turnaround funding decisions can take place and get work underway. Full details are available on the believe housing website, or by calling the Community Investment Team on 0300 1311 999.