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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Specialist mental health support course for voluntary sector staff extended

This news post is almost 3 years old

All places for the first round of the course were snapped up in 48 hours

A course which provides specialist mental health support for voluntary sector staff and volunteers is being extended.

Foundation Scotland is recognising Mental Health Awareness Week by announcing it will provide a further £30,000 towards its ground-breaking partnership with SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health).  This new award takes the total committed to £50,000 in a matter of weeks. 

Last month, the funder announced it is was awarding the national charity an initial £20,000 to deliver 40 workplace training sessions specifically designed for those working or volunteering in the third sector. Organisers experienced unprecedented demand for all 400 places across the 10 courses being snapped up within 48 hours. As  a result the registration was closed early and a waiting list established for those unable to attend in the first round. 

This new award will extend the reach of the programme to organisations not yet signed up and will ensure everyone on the waiting list can attend.  The partnership anticipate that collectively the two awards will reach over 900 voluntary sector workers and volunteers working across the country.

The expansion of this strategic collaboration with SAMH showcases the foundation’s commitment to the sector and those working within it.  Funded in partnership with the National Emergencies Trust, these awards recognise mental health as a key priority need through the pandemic.  This new £30,000 award is the third strategic crisis grant provided to SAMH by Foundation Scotland.  The charity previously received £20,000 for this training in April and over £100,000 in October 2020 to design and deliver a partnership programme offering mental health support to key workers. 

The funding will allow SAMH to deliver a further 600 tailored workplace places. Individuals will get to choose from a range of virtual sessions including A Manager’s Guide to Mental Health in the Workplace, Introduction To Suicide Prevention, Maintaining Wellbeing and Building Resilience. These courses aim to develop participants’ knowledge, skills and confidence to protect themselves and provide support to colleagues.  These practical, solutions-driven, courses are free to attend and will enable organisations to become more resilient, helping them further support the people who need them.  

Feedback from those who have already taken part in the training hailed the sessions as “excellent” and “extremely useful”.  Participants reported they liked the fact it was not purely theoretical, that they found it useful to share experiences with others in similar positions and to learn from each other.  Others reported that they have benefited from gaining practical solutions, feel equipped to confidently approach those they work with who experience mental health problems and that the training will be useful for both their workplace and their personal lives.

Richard Rutnagur, director of strategic and business development, SAMH, said “It is fantastic news that we will be able to reach even more organisations to help them build their knowledge, skills and confidence in vital areas like workplace mental health and suicide prevention. The overwhelmingly positive response to our first round of training demonstrated the urgent need to support the third sector staff and volunteers who have worked so tirelessly during the pandemic.

"We are grateful to Foundation Scotland for their continued support, and look forward to further developing our partnership.”

Helen Wray, programmes manager at Foundation Scotland, said “We are proud to be extending our support to third sector heroes during Mental Health Awareness Week. At Foundation Scotland, we recognise the vital and urgent need to protect and maintain the wellbeing of those who have worked selflessly to deliver support throughout the crisis.  We recognise it is often these very people who feel like they can’t talk, or even have time to think about their own issues as they are so focussed on helping others. Supporting others just isn’t sustainable long-term unless you are looking after yourself and others within your organisation.   

"Increasing the availability of this training will reach more individuals and more organisatons in need.  The support will ensure those working or volunteering across the sector feel equipped, trained and able to cope with the increasing pressures they face.  We will be directly contacting eligible groups next month so they can sign up to benefit.”

Foundation Scotland has to date awarded over £7.3 million to over 1,100 charitable groups supporting the most vulnerable people through the crisis. This support has already reached over 2 million people living across Scotland.