Essential mental health training for the nation’s coaches

Thursday, 21 May, 2020

As part of Mental Health Awareness Week UK Coaching (in collaboration with its awarding organisation 1st4sport, and partners Mind, the mental health charity, and Sport England) are giving the nation's coaches free access to the Mental Health for Sport and Physical Activity online course.

The news comes at the start of Mental Health Awareness Week, which is hosted by the Mental Health Foundation and runs from the 18-24 May.

Usually £18, the course is accessible via the organisation’s learning and development platform,, and will remain free of charge until the 31 August 2020.

Coaches across the UK will be able to increase their knowledge of mental health, and confidence when applying the learning into their coaching practice.

Specifically, learners will be able to:

  • welcome and support people living with mental health problems in their sport and physical activity sessions
  • increase their knowledge of mental health problems
  • apply the learning in their coaching practice
  • make their club or organisation more inclusive

Independent Age announces £2m Grants Fund for smaller organisations

Thursday, 21 May, 2020

Trustees of Independent Age have released £2 million from their funds to help smaller organisations across the UK working with older people hardest hit by the Coronavirus.

Their Grants Fund will comprise of four separate funding rounds. In each round they will make £500,000 available where organisations can apply to receive up to £15,000 each.

Reaching older people most likely to be missing out – now and beyond the coronavirus pandemic.

Coronavirus has changed the lives of everyone in the UK, but this is particularly true for our older generation who remain amongst the most affected. Before coronavirus struck the nation, Independent Age was exploring how to strengthen collaboration with older people and local organisations with the aim of shaping a more active role in supporting communities. But right now, our focus must be directed towards the current crisis. We can’t do this alone which is why our trustees have released £2 million from Independent Age’s funds to help smaller organisations across the UK working with older people hardest hit by the virus.

Our Grants Fund will comprise of four separate funding rounds. In each round we will make £500,000 available where organisations can apply to receive up to £15,000 each.

Applications opened on 18 May. Please be aware you can only apply once.  If you have been unsuccessful, you will not be able to re-apply in a later funding round.

Find out more

Government’s new Coronavirus Community Support Fund will open for applications on 22 May.

Thursday, 21 May, 2020

The National Lottery Community Fund has announced that the Government’s new Coronavirus Community Support Fund will open for applications at 10am this Friday, 22 May.

This new funding makes available £200m in Government funding that will be aimed primarily at small to medium organisations in England.

The Fund has two key objectives:

  1. To increase community support to vulnerable people affected by the COVID-19 crisis, through the work of civil society organisations.
  • To reduce temporary closures of essential charities and social enterprises, ensuring services for vulnerable people impacted by COVID-19 have the financial resources to operate, and so reduce the burden on public services.

Grants will allow organisations to meet service costs, where they are experiencing increased demand and/or short-term income disruption. Grants will also allow organisations to refocus services to address more immediate beneficiary needs in light of COVID-19.

Follow the link for more details on how to apply.

Efforts to reduce violence in the West Midlands to be evaluated

Tuesday, 19 May, 2020

University of Wolverhampton researchers are to lead a project which aims to assess the effectiveness of efforts to reduce violence in the West Midlands.

The West Midlands Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) was launched in October 2019 as an alliance of organisations in the West Midlands which share the priority of ‘reducing violence’.

The importance of thorough evaluation has been championed by Public Health England who are a key partner within the VRU. 

The Violence Reduction Unit was set up after receiving a £3.37m grant from the Home Office and just over £500,000 from the Police and Crime Commissioner.

The University’s Institute of Community Research and Development (ICRD) has been appointed as the lead evaluator of the West Midlands Violence Reduction Unit.

The evaluation will be delivered in partnership with Birmingham Voluntary Service Council and the University of Birmingham.

Professor Laura Caulfield, Chair of the Institute for Community Research and Development said “We are delighted to be working with the West Midlands Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) on this important project, which aims to improve the lives of people right across the region.

“The award of this project recognises our significant expertise in this area of research, and we anticipate working with the VRU on an on-going basis in order to capture the longer term evidence of the impact of the work.”

Meanwhile, Dr Lola Abudu, Director of Health and Wellbeing with PHE West Midlands, said: “Violence is a public health issue; living without the fear of violence is a fundamental requirement for health and wellbeing. By taking a public health approach, agencies across the region are working together to understand and address the causes of violence and reduce it. Violence is preventable, not inevitable, and we are grateful to the University of Wolverhampton for leading the project to evaluate the excellent work being done by the West Midlands Violence Reduction Unit.”

The evaluation team have been commissioned to evaluate the ‘whole-systems approach’ that is being adopted by the VRU and to develop a Theory of Change, which will inform an evaluation framework for the entire VRU, as well as evaluation protocols for individual interventions commissioned by the VRU. This will:

  • allow the VRU to understand the impact of their work on addressing the causes of violence across the region
  • help the VRU continue to continue to develop their approach through evidence-based commissioning and practice
  • and will provide new understanding and knowledge that can be shared nationally and internationally

The partnership between the University of Wolverhampton, Birmingham Voluntary Service Council, and the University of Birmingham brings together unique and impressive expertise in large-scale programme evaluation, violence reduction, and community research.

More information about ICRD.