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Groups given £100,000 to reduce mental health demand on Kent Police

Matthew Scott with the team at Talk It Out in Deal
A project in Deal which supports people with mental health issues has received a share of more than £100,000 from the Police and Crime Commissioner, Matthew Scott.
Mr Scott’s Mental Health and Policing Fund supports projects which help ease the demand of mental health on Kent Police. Thirty bids for funding were received, from which the PCC selected a dozen projects across the county to award money to.
One of them was the Talk It Out well-being cafe in Deal, which Mr Scott visited on 29 June.
He said:

‘Around a third of Kent Police time is spent dealing with incidents of mental health and in many cases the police have only become involved as a service of last resort. I want to enhance the support available elsewhere to relieve some of this pressure because the current situation is not sustainable.
‘Getting the right support for people with mental health issues at the right time is a guiding principle of Safer in Kent: The Community Safety and Criminal Justice Plan. This is not only about easing the demands on Kent Police but also about making sure vulnerable people get the support they need and deserve.
‘The staff and volunteers at Talk It Out, for example, are much better suited to helping people than police officers, who are not mental health professionals.’

Delighted to receive £9,690 of funding, Colin Smith from Talk It Out said:

‘The grant awarded has ensured our project will continue for at least 18 months. Additionally there will be specific workshops for anxiety sufferers. It is vitally important, as the only well-being centre in Deal, and will also have a preventative element in reducing mental health police interventions.’

Other projects to receive funding included Young Kent, which helps young people dealing with mental health difficulties right across the county.

Julie Stones, Director of Development at Young Kent, said:

‘The programme has a quadruple effect. It supports vulnerable young people to access a youth club with a peer mentor; it provides peer mentors with greater mental health awareness and life skills; our club workshops raise awareness about mental health; and we meet a very important part of the policing agenda - supporting safety and mental health of young people.

‘This is such an important agenda and we can't wait to get started.’

Another successful bidder was Dads Unlimited, which runs monthly support groups for men to talk about their issues with others in similar circumstances.
Chair of Trustees Adam Colthorpe said:

‘This funding will enable Dads Unlimited to provide advice, emotional support, access to counselling and a community for fathers across Kent who are suffering from challenges within their relationships or parenting, which ultimately has a major impact on their mental health and capabilities.’

Prince Adewale Adeola’s Youth Ngage group received £10,000 to raise awareness and prevent mental health problems among African Caribbean communities in north Kent.

He said: ‘This funding will give us the opportunity to reach out to groups and individuals in order to make a good impact, help raise awareness and support for families concerned. We are very grateful.’

Vee Bentley, Centre Manager for the Dover Outreach Centre, which also received £10,000, said:

‘With your help we will now be able to employ a cognitive behavioural therapy nurse on a formal basis and make our services available to more of the homeless people of Dover.’

In total, £107,556 was awarded to 12 groups.
Click here to see the full list of recipients.

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