The Hampshire and Isle of Wight Community Foundation (HIWCF) has now closed expressions of interest for its new Youth Mental Health Fund, having received an extraordinary response from 38 local voluntary and community groups requesting a total amount of £206,823.67 for projects working towards the prevention and treatment of mental health problems for younger people.

 Grants of £3,000 to £6,000 were available to local groups based and active in Hampshire, Portsmouth, Southampton and the Isle of Wight supporting young children from the age of 5 up to 25 years old affected by a range of issues including depression, cyberbullying, drug addiction, bereavement and self-harm. Eligible projects included those providing opportunities for children and young people to explore their concerns in a safe, friendly and non-judgemental environment, projects providing safety nets to younger people to help avoid illness, and support for parents and carers of children and young people experiencing mental distress.

Jakes Ferguson, Chief Executive of HIWCF commented: “This is the first time HIWCF has run a Youth Mental Health themed grant programme and this overwhelming response identifies that there is a huge need for support of mental health issues in the area. The response is close to being the strongest demand for any grant programme we’ve ever run and we will now be able to evaluate the exact type of need to ensure our grants can help local groups put their projects into action to make a real difference to people’s lives.”

Jonathan Cheshire, Chairman of HIWCF added: “The grant applications received demonstrate a wide range of inspiring projects and it is clear that groups across the area are working hard to tackle the issues involved with mental health. HIWCF continuously reviews our grant-making to ensure that it focuses on the areas of greatest need. Last year we were able to target 70% of our £1.1m grant spend on the 50% most deprived wards in our area.”

Awareness of mental health issues and its impact on society has been in the spotlight recently, thanks to the Heads Together campaign supported by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry. This is helping to raise awareness, tackle the stigma and change the national conversation around mental health and wellbeing. It also provides vital help for people with mental health challenges.

In addition, earlier this year, the Prime Minister, Theresa May spoke about how the government is planning to transform mental health support in this country. She said: “For too long mental illness has been something of a hidden injustice in our country, shrouded in a completely unacceptable stigma and dangerously disregarded as a secondary issue to physical health. Yet left unaddressed, it destroys lives, it separates people from each other and deepens the divisions within our society. Changing this goes right to the heart of the kind of country we are, the values we share, the attitudes we hold and a determination to come together and support each other.” … “This starts with ensuring that children and young people get the help and support they need and deserve – because we know that mental illness too often starts in childhood and that when left untreated, can blight lives and become entrenched.”

If you would like to find out more about HIWCF and our valuable work across Hampshire and Isle of Wight, Southampton and Portsmouth please look at


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Contact details for Editor:

Name:                           Lucy Sweet

Title:                             Marketing Manager

Organisation:                HIWCF

Telephone:                    (01256) 776101

Direct Dial:                    (01256) 776116



About Hampshire and Isle of Wight Community Foundation

Registered Charity No: 1100417 – Registered Company Number 4534462

The Hampshire & Isle of Wight Community Foundation (HIWCF) is an independent charitable trust established to inspire local giving for local need. The Community Foundation works both with donors who want to give something back to their local communities and voluntary groups providing vital services for local people where often a few hundred pounds can make a real difference to their lives. Companies, individuals, families and trusts can establish a fund with the Foundation, which supports a growing programme of grant-making to communities. HIWCF is part of a national network of 46 Community Foundations, one of the fastest growing philanthropic movements in the UK. Local groups can take a look at the HIWCF website to see if they might qualify for a grant: or email HIWCF at