Four of groups that have benefited from the wellbeing grant fund support local people’s mental health.
Littlehampton-based Andy’s Man Club (AMC), which supports men with mental-health issues from across the district, was awarded £832 to help get the group established. This matched funds the group raised earlier in the year, meaning AMC can continue to run at Dove Lodge in Littlehampton for a further six months.
Men in Sheds Littlehampton East received £500 to buy a much-needed bandsaw for the group’s workshop, while Men Walk Talk, which raises awareness of men’s mental health issues, received £375 to promote the service, and Adapts Hub CIC, which also has a focus on mental health, received £250 to fund IT equipment and peer-support training.
James Stafford, 40, one of the AMC Littlehampton founders, said: “Myself, Mike and the men that come to our group every Monday are really pleased that the council realised the need to support men’s mental health and enabled us to keep supporting the local community for another six months.”
Matt Pollard, founder of Men Walk Talk said: “As a charity, we are really keen to let more people know about our offer, because no one ever plans to struggle, to have a bad day or to become socially isolated.
“We want guys to know that we’re here and we’re ready to listen, whenever they’re ready, whatever their story.
“Your mess really could be someone else’s message, so don’t keep it to yourself. We’ve learned over the last two years of meeting other guys that there really is strength in numbers and however small or large a community is, communication always wins over isolation.
“Our outdoor walks are still going ahead, we stick to social distancing and we have a walk planned on Boxing Day, meeting at 10.30am in Mewsbrook Park, Littlehampton. I will be facilitating the walk, an opportunity to take some time out for you, whatever you’re up to over the Christmas season.
“Thank you to the Arun District wellbeing fund for supporting us and in turn supporting men in and around the Arun area.”
Due to the pandemic, many people in the community have been affected and still continue to be. Because of this, the council decided to add projects that support recovery to the wellbeing priorities this year.
Grants were awarded to five organisations who the panel felt addressed a recovery need or reduced isolation.
Littlehampton Community Fridge received £500 towards setting up a café to enhance the great work it has done in saving nearly 200 tonnes of food going to waste since it was set up in 2019.
The Rotary Club of Bognor Regis received £400 to make Christmas a happier time for eight families living on a low income, whilst dealing with other issues too.
All Saints Church in Wick received £950 to pay for a licence to put on a free film club and the Creative Heart community hub and arts café in Littlehampton was given £500 to run cookery classes for widowers.
Tom Robson, vicar of All Saints Church, said: “We are delighted to have secured funding through the Arun Wellbeing Small Grants Fund for the licences to show films on the big screen in Wick Hall.
“Having recently refurbished the main hall it will be great to see it hosting this community event, in addition to all the clubs and organisations that already make use of it. Look out for more information on Wick Flicks from early in the new year.”
Lastly, Aldwick and Pagham Scout Group received £693 to pay for robust bell tents to allow camping in any season.
Councillor Jacky Pendleton, deputy leader of the council and chair of the residential and wellbeing services committee, said: “We had some very strong applications, so we’re delighted to be able to support the worthy organisations chosen with grant funding towards a range of inspiring projects. They might be small grants, but they will make a huge difference to these hard- working voluntary and community groups which improve people’s lives and bolster the wellbeing of our communities – invaluable during difficult times such as these as we continue to navigate our way through the pandemic.”
The Small Grants Awards are given to organisations that promote one or more of the Arun Wellbeing priorities.
The priorities are keeping people active and reducing social isolation, with Covid-19 recovery being included this year.