Sixty-one Sussex projects will boost mental wellbeing

Grassroots projects to boost mental wellbeing in Brighton & Hove

Samba dance classes for new mothers with babies, gentle exercise to music for residents aged over 60 and an allotment and sensory garden for vulnerable school children are all examples of targeted projects across Brighton & Hove to improve mental wellbeing.

The awards are for grassroots community projects across a range of ages and backgrounds as part of the £261,000 programme jointly funded by Brighton & Hove City Council and Brighton & Hove CCG.

Details of the Mental Health Innovation Fund award come on Friday March 20th – UN Day of Happiness.

Twenty mothers with children under a year who are stressed or lonely will have the chance to enjoy Samba dance classes with skilled instructors at both taster sessions and workshops offered with Beleza Brighton.

Active for Life and Three Score Dance Company will offer four sessions of gentle exercise to music within sheltered housing or care homes for people aged over 60 that aim to reach up to 150 people.

Vulnerable students within schools including those with special education needs and BME groups will be able to get involved in a school allotment and sensory garden at Blatchington Mill. The project aims to engage with children in a positive way through multi-sensory engagement in an outdoor classroom that is linked to the National Curriculum.

These are just three of 61 projects that will help hundreds of residents and include work with Albion in the Community, Grace Eyre Foundation and City Academy Whitehawk.

These projects follow the publication of Happiness: Brighton & Hove Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy, which is the first time the city has combined plans for mental health promotion, commissioning adult mental health services and commissioning children’s mental health services.

Brighton & Hove City Council director of public health Tom Scanlon said:

“In Brighton & Hove we experience higher levels of mental illness than nationally so it’s right to invest in grassroots projects that can make a difference to people’s lives in our neighbourhoods

“From gardening for dads in deprived areas, Autism friendly Yoga to creating a graphic novel about mental health for those aged 11-16 to help spread good practice, these are all practical initiatives.

“We think there is something for everyone here and I’m very happy to be unveiling these projects on UN Day of Happiness (March 20).”

Local GP and Mental Health Lead for the CCG, Dr Rebecca Jarvis, said:

“There’s a lot of evidence that the Five Ways To Wellbeing can help to improve our mental health and I am regularly referring to them in consultations with patients. By encouraging people to link the Five Ways to their day-to-day lives and to feel part of their local community, our Innovation Fund projects aim to help people develop strong emotional resilience. This in turn helps us to cope with challenges such as bereavement, divorce, becoming a new mum, adolescence and retirement.”

For more details go to