Association of Mental Health Providers

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Why Small Charities are Vital for the Mental Health Sector

Around “97% of charities in the UK are small charities”, and this includes any “charitable organisation with an annual income of less than £1 million.” [1]

Across the UK, charities are doing incredible work to support others. We have seen the fantastic work that all charities, including those in the mental health sector, do each and every day. From providing emotional support to fundraising to shouting about vital causes. They can create long-lasting and positive change.

Small charities are vital for the mental health sector.

They can help build relationships within communities that may be marginalised. In fact, many of the services provided by mental health charities will often be the only support available to some of our most disadvantaged and marginalised communities, including those that are racialised, children and young people, older people, people from an LGBTQ+, homeless, or criminal justice community.

This whole-person, whole-system approach ensures that no one is left behind.

Almost three years ago, we launched the Mental Health Sustainability Programme to support mental health provider charities during the start of lockdown and the pandemic. We supported over 100 small mental health charities during the formal 2 years of the programme. We recognise the essential services they provide in the community, particularly to those most marginalised.

We offered grants to enable them to continue to deliver their services, develop skills through webinars and workshops, and create a long-term learning programme focusing on topics relevant to small charities.

Small charities can maintain close connections with local services and people.

They are often created to address local or specific needs, which means that they can offer unique support that might have otherwise been overlooked. These links can make a significant difference to the community as well as supporting the NHS to deliver mental health services at a time when there is an increased need.

Small charities are usually close-knit teams who are specialists in their cause, understand their supporters, and are invaluable to the sector and those who may be vulnerable. This is important for the mental health sector when supporting individuals with specific needs who require care and understanding, as well as the right knowledge to help advise and advocate for their rights.

Mental health charities can make a difference.

Our #MHEqualityNow campaign map showed that there is a mental health charity supporting our NHS in delivering mental health services in every local area of this country.

We also know that small charities can make a huge difference, particularly to their local communities, often with little recognition. That is why, during Small Charity Week and beyond, we want to highlight the positive impact small charities can have. Their hard work, passion and dedication deserves to be celebrated.

Small Charity Week is an annual celebration of the UK’s small charity sector and its vital work. This year, it is taking place from Monday, 19 June to Friday, 23 June, and there are many ways you and your organisation can still get involved. You can help promote awareness of the week via social media, register and host an event or even support small charities in your own way.

Currently, 75% of our members are small charities.

We listen to the needs of our members, including many small charities, help to support them and amplify their voices. We do this by creating a community of service providers who can share best practice, discuss and debate in our members’ meetings and through our forum, influence mental health policies through co-production and policy opportunities, and stay informed and connected via our social channels, bulletins, and webinars.

Find out how you can join us here.