Developing Healthy Communities and the North West Community Network, are delighted to be partnering with the British Science Association (BSA) and the Wellcome Trust on The Ideas Fund.

The Ideas Fund is a new grants programme that will enable the public in the Derry & Strabane Council area to think about, develop and test ideas to help improve mental wellbeing.

Find out more & register your interest in the Ideas Fund

The Fund has been designed to help people tackle problems that matter to them by connecting them with research professionals who can help bring their ideas to life.

Initially the Fund will focus on ideas related to mental wellbeing, with £3.29 million funding to support community initiatives in four geographical areas of the UK including the Derry & Strabane District Council area.

The other three locations covered by the Fund include the Scottish Highlands and Islands, Oldham in Greater Manchester and the city of Hull.

Reaching people who may have been overlooked by research in the past is a key aim of The Ideas Fund – particularly in rural or minority ethnic communities, amongst the young, marginalised and socioeconomically disadvantaged people.

Roisin McLauglin from North West Community Network and Erin McFeely, Chief Executive of Developing Healthy Communities, were recently interviewed on Radio Foyle on mental wellbeing in the Derry and Strabane area and how The Ideas Fund can help. [48 minutes into the recording]:

Listen now

North West Community Network’s Roisin McLaughlin, said:

“The North West includes the second largest city in Northern Ireland as well as many rural communities, and many people living in areas with high levels of deprivation.

"We know the community sector provides vital support, particularly with regard to mental wellbeing, and there are some amazing local researchers in universities and beyond. We can’t wait to see what they can do together as part of The Ideas Fund.” 

“We’re really keen for anyone with an idea – either from the community or a research background – to register their interest on the Ideas Fund website and either myself or another local representative will be in touch.”

Register your interest in the Ideas Fund

The Interim Mental Health Champion, Professor Siobhan O’Neill, said:

I am delighted that Derry City and Strabane District Council area have been chosen to participate in this programme. This is a much welcomed opportunity for our voluntary and community sector that are already doing such great work in addressing issues around mental health and wellbeing in their areas. This funding comes just as we are in the consultation period of the Draft Mental Health Strategy and the programme will offer an evidence-based approach to explore how communities can deliver mental health and wellbeing services.

Findings published today from ‘Mental Wellbeing in the UK’ research commissioned by the BSA reveal that one in ten (15%) adults surveyed by YouGov in Northern Ireland described their mental wellbeing as poor; and a third (33%) said their wellbeing had worsened since coronavirus restrictions were first introduced in March 2020.

Read more from BSA's 'Mental Wellbeing in the UK' research