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The Ideas Fund launches in Oldham

  • Posted by Paolo,
  • Engagement & Involvement Specialist,
  • in Listen up,
  • January '21

New Fund to support local engagement in mental wellbeing.

A black woman smiling with the words 'Connections matter' in a corner.

Vocal is working in partnership with the British Science Association (BSA) to support Oldham-based communty groups and health researchers across Greater Manchester to develop ideas for The Ideas Fund.

The Ideas Fund is a new grants programme to enable people in the UK to develop and evaluate local projects that aim to help to improve mental wellbeing. The Fund is designed to help people tackle issues that matter to them by connecting them with researchers who can help bring their ideas to life. Initially the Fund is focusing on mental wellbeing, with £3.29m funding to support community initiatives in four UK locations including Oldham in Greater Manchester.

Results from the ‘Mental Wellbeing in the UK’ research commissioned by the BSA reveal that nearly a quarter of adults (24%) surveyed by YouGov in the North West of England described their mental wellbeing as poor; and nearly half (47%) said their wellbeing had worsened since coronavirus restrictions were introduced in March 2020.

The Fund is prioritising support for people who may not have had the opportunities to play an active role in research before, including people in rural locations, people from minority ethnic communities, and young, marginalised people who are socioeconomically disadvantaged.

The Ideas Fund not only encourages traditionally underserved groups of people in the UK to engage with health research, it aims to put them in the driving seat – by involving them in the design of the Fund and decisions on the ideas and projects that receive funding. We’ve brought together community representatives, researchers and people with expertise in involving people in science to help design the programme. Members of the public told us that they were excited by opportunities to engage with health research and had lots of ideas, but they would like support at both the application and grant award stages and may also need introductions to researchers to partner with. The Fund has been designed to support people and ideas with potential and to bring communities and researchers together.

—Katherine Mathieson, Chief Executive, British Science Association

At Vocal, we are looking forward to supporting communities in the area to connect and develop ideas that explore mental wellbeing with health researchers. We hope to build on our collaborations with Oldham community groups and work that we have done together for Radiotherapy & Me, Hearing Health Now and MH:2K.

Are you part of an Oldham-based community group or health researcher interested in The Ideas Fund?

Contact us by clicking ‘Get in touch’ below and tell us a bit more about what you do and we’ll get back to you.

If you’re interested in knowing more about the Ideas Fund, the BSA and Vocal will be hosting a series of pre-application workshops to help you start thinking about your ideas. You can find more information here.