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Covid-19 Fund – for peer support for mental health

Added: 22/04/2020

Voluntary Action Leeds

NSUN Covid-19 fund new fund with grants up to £1000 to support peer support, community action and mutual aid for mental health during Covid-19

The Coronavirus Mental Health Response Fund (CMHRF) launched on Thursday 16th April, for Voluntary and Community Sector organisations based in England to continue to provide mental health services, or provide additional support, during Covid-19, included grants of £20,000 or £50,000 for charities, CICs, CIOs or companies ltd. by guarantee). Please see the full eligibility criteria for these larger amounts via the main fund here.  

As part of this funding programme, NSUN is administering a smaller fund to support user-led organisations (ULOs) and smaller, unconstituted community groups who might not otherwise be eligible for a grant. Grants of up to £1000 will be available to support community action, peer support, mutual aid and other activities that will make a direct difference to the lives of people living with mental ill-health, trauma and distress during this Covid-19 period.

Historically, unconstituted groups have been left out of these funds so NSUN are delighted that there is a commitment to supporting ULOs and community groups. 

This fund will open by the end of April.

Will my group be eligible?

The NSUN grants are available to User Led Organisations across England who need additional funds to deliver their support and activities during Covid-19. You may be a peer support group, a mutual aid group, a community group, a Disabled People’s Organisation (DPO), or a ULO (this is not an exhaustive list). 

The NSUN grant is for organisations or collectives or groups which may or may not be constituted (but are not set up as a charity or a community interest company (CIC), for example) or who otherwise are not eligible for the main Coronavirus Mental Health Response Fund. 

You will need to be a member of NSUN. Membership is free for ULOs and community groups, and you can sign up here.

If you do not have a bank account, you are still eligible to apply providing you meet the criteria above.

Email us at if you have any questions about eligibility.

What can I use the fund for?

The fund is for ULOs to provide additional support or sustain existing support using connecting technologies to their members during the Covid-19 crisis.  The focus is on making a difference to people’s lives now, during this time of uncertainty and reduction of other forms of support.

Here are some examples of ways funds could be used:

  • You might be a peer support group in the community who require an annual Zoom subscription to move your group online

  • You might be a local advocacy and peer support group who might require a laptop or additional data on your phones to continue your support activities

  • You might be a mutual aid group which is not currently online who need to create a website to share your services 

  • You might be a peer support group in the community who may want to a do a print run of Covid-19 related mental health information for your members, who are not online because of fears/beliefs around technology

  • You might need petrol costs for a local mutual aid group delivering food, essentials and recharging gas and electricity keys for local people with mental health difficulties and other health conditions who are self-isolating 

  • You might need to cover DBS checks for new volunteers

  • You might need to cover the costs of a sessional facilitator/contractor for additional training to move your peer support group online 

How much are the grants?

We estimate that most grants will be for amounts up to £1000. If you would like to request more, please indicate this in your application.

Are there any conditions?

  • You will need to explain to us how you will use the money, and why it is needed in relation to Covid-19 and the mental health of your beneficiaries.

  • You will need to provide receipts for any spending.

  • You will need to keep in touch with us so we can monitor and evaluate how the money has made a difference to your activities and members. There will be a short form to fill in about this, and we can help you with it.

Please email if you have any questions about this. As we are expecting a high number of queries and subsequent applications, please be patient as we may not be able to reply as quickly as usual.

Please look out for further updates about when we will open applications in our weekly bulletin (you will receive these as an NSUN member) and on this page of our website.

Voluntary Action Leeds

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