GRANTS of up to £80,000 for two years are available to charities and voluntary groups supporting wellbeing and mental health.

Dorset Community Foundation, Community Action Network and NHS Dorset have partnered to provide the grants in the Community Wellbeing and Mental Health Fund.

The fund will offer grants of up to £80,000 over two years, or £10,000 over a six month to one year period for groups running community-based non-clinical services and activities focused on wellbeing and mental health.

Dorset Community Foundation grants manager, Ellie Maguire, said: “Dorset Health Care, Community Action Network and NHS Dorset are working together with partners across the system to develop a universal community wellbeing offer across Dorset, including wellbeing hub development.

“This funding programme aims to compliment these plans, by supporting activities delivered by the local voluntary sector that provide other community-based wellbeing services with an early intervention approach.

“Priority will be given to projects in communities experiencing health inequalities, including people living in areas of high deprivation and those who are socially excluded and experience multiple risk factors for poor health.”

It will support early intervention services, projects that empower people to build resilience and help those living with mental health conditions to take part in activities to aid their recovery.

Mark Smith, principal programme lead for NHS Dorset’s Mental Health, Learning Disabilities and Autism team, said: “We are really excited to be able to work with the voluntary sector and Dorset Community Foundation to distribute significant funds to smaller, local organisations who operate in the heart of their communities.

“This is a fantastic opportunity and we look forward to exciting projects and initiatives over the coming months.”

Karen Loftus, chief executive at Community Action Network said: “Our role will be to get alongside groups to ensure they are funding ready and have all the tools they need to effectively deliver the work and demonstrate the positive impact on the people they serve.”

The fund complements the Access Wellbeing programme, which delivers mental health and wellbeing services in Dorset, in partnership with the NHS, councils and the voluntary and community sector.

Applications to the fund are open until March 1, with a second round of applications in the summer for grants of up to £10,000. A series of information events will be held on the programme and fund.

For more information, visit the Dorset Community Foundation website.