May 19, 2022 7.00 pm

Council leaders approve £60k mental health spend to tackle increased pressures

Councillors want money spent locally

North Kesteven District Council is putting a further £60,000 aside to fund mental health support – but councillors say the money needs to be spent locally and effectively.

The authority’s executive on Thursday voted in favour of the money, which will be used for grants to voluntary and community groups, with strict criteria over how it will be spent.

It is part of an overall £100,000 of funding earmarked for Public Health, Health and Wellbeing and Mental Health by the council in its financial plan, with £30,200 already spent.

A report said that around one in four people in the UK experience health, wellbeing and mental health issues each year – around 29,000 people in North Kesteven.

“As a council, we are at the heart of communication with our residents and provide the perfect base for signposting services such as mental health services and providing a link through to community groups such as who may be able to help find suitable funding for those groups working with people suffering with mental health issues,” said the report.

It noted particular issues recently with COVID leading to marked increases in anxiety and crises around life satisfaction, happiness and feelings of worthwhileness.

Data around issues such as fuel poverty, dementia, breast feeding take-up and obesity, was also provided.

Officers said that the money needed to go to services that produced achievable outcomes.

Councillor Sally Tarry: “That £60,000 could make a significant difference to our communities, but we’ve got to make sure that this money is used wisely.

“We must be very careful it doesn’t support anything that is the responsibility of other public sector bodies.”

She suggested there should be a review of those who received money after a set period of time.

She was backed by Councillor Clegg who said: “£60,000 is a significant sum of money as long as it’s spent effectively.”

He suggested applicants that did not initially meet the requirements could be guided into how to succeed.

NKDC leader Councillor Richard Wright said the money needed to be given to “locally based” organisations

“This is supposed to be NK focused… we’re looking to help smaller groups rather than a wider footprint,” he added.