National Lottery grant for mental health and well-being support

Brighton-based charity, BWC, has received a National Lottery grant of almost £275,000 to expand its mental health and well-being support to women across the South East.

The grant from The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK, will allow BWC to extend its services further across East and West Sussex over the next three years. As well as recruiting new members of staff, BWC also plans to create themed groups which take a more in-depth look at key aspects of recovery from trauma and abuse.

BWC has been instrumental in supporting vulnerable women during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our research shows that our Women’s Accommodation Support Service helped almost 90% of its beneficiaries find suitable accommodation between 2020-2021, while almost 100% of women reported a positive experience when using our therapy service. In addition, almost 80% of those who used our foodbank and helpline during the period said it made them feel more in control of their lives.

One woman, who accesses BWC’s services and wishes to be anonymous, describes the charity as crucial to her recovery after experiencing a range of mental health struggles resulting from past trauma. She says:

“In the beginning, I was so scared to join Brighton Women’s Centre because I didn’t know what I was letting myself in for, if I would feel rejected or be unable to share experiences, or even worse, be a negative influence on people who are trying to help because of my own personal circumstances. However, the major reasons why I am able to make the changes that I’m currently making is because of the wonderful support that I received from Brighton Women’s Centre. I’ll never take that for granted. It also helps me to be a support to other people and hopefully be a positive influence in the community outside of the Brighton Women’s Centre. I don’t think I would be able to do this on my own.”

Jane Moore, Women’s Peer to Peer Support Coordinator at Brighton Women’s Centre, said:

“The funding means we can expand our services – both in terms of the choices we offer and the number of women who participate. Thanks to National Lottery players, we will be able to continue our work and help more women, from all kinds of different backgrounds, live happier and more fulfilled lives.”

The National Lottery Community Fund’s most recent Impact Report shows that, between 2016–2021, it invested £1.2bn in projects supporting people experiencing mental health issues, with 8% of these supporting victims and survivors of trauma, such as domestic abuse and rape, and 5% supporting homeless people or people involved with the criminal justice system.

During the same period, The National Lottery Community Fund’s Women and Girls Initiative provided £44.7 million to projects that work to empower women and girls who are in need or at risk of issues including domestic abuse, sexual violence, exploitation or trafficking.

Helen Bushell, Senior Head of Regional Funding for London, South East and East of England at The National Lottery Community Fund, said:

“Thanks to National Lottery players, we are able to support thousands of fantastic local projects, like Brighton Women’s Centre. The centre is working hard to provide a safe space for women to discuss their experiences and past traumas, as well as address issues such as mental health and loneliness. I’m delighted that this funding will help the centre to continue providing its services, as projects like this can be a real lifeline for some of the most vulnerable members of our society – enabling them and the wider community to better prosper and thrive.”

The National Lottery Community Fund distributes funding on behalf of National Lottery players who raise more than £30 million each week for good causes throughout the UK. During the pandemic, in 2020 alone, The National Lottery Community Fund distributed almost £1 billion to charities and community organisations across the UK.

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