MORE than £725,000 has been granted to 22 groups whose work will help prevent people developing serious mental health problems.

Dorset Community Foundation’s Community Wellbeing and Mental Health fund was set up to support groups running community-based, non-clinical services and activities.

The fund, run in collaboration with NHS Dorset and Community Action Network (CAN), supports these groups that help adults improve their wellbeing and mental health and assist those living with mental health conditions to aid their recovery.

It is designed to reduce pressure on the NHS and complement the Access Wellbeing programme, in partnership with the NHS, councils and the voluntary and community sector.

One group supported by the fund is Options Wellbeing Trust in Bournemouth, which has been given £59,000 over two years.

Bournemouth Echo:

This will support the group to launch a peer support network for people with eating disorders.

£60,000 has been awarded to Access Dorset to run its activity sessions for people with both physical and mental disabilities at The Bridge community centre in Bournemouth.

The users of the group help to choose the programme of activities, which includes art, drama, gardening, cookery and DIY.

Wild and Free Therapy in Boscombe has been awarded £4,300 over a year to run beach and sea activities for parents and carers of children with disabilities.

This will include six mindful sessions, such as surfing, wild swimming, paddle-boarding and beach yoga, aimed at combatting the mental and physical challenges faced by those with an intensive caring role.

The group also hopes to run more casual drop-in sessions.

Bournemouth Echo:

Sexual Trauma and Recovery Services (STARS Dorset) will receive a grant of £79,000 over two years in Poole and Dorchester.

This will fund an administrator to run a series of support groups for people who have experienced sexual violence or domestic abuse.

These groups will include workshops covering grounding techniques, anxiety management, anchors and trauma response as well as creative sessions.

Empowerment groups will also look at building on skills and positive thoughts to raise self-esteem, self-confidence and how to establish self-care practices every day.

To find out more about the fund and the work of the Dorset Community Foundation, visit its website.

There will be a second application round for the fund in the summer for grants of up to £10,000.