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#TogetherForChange – An open letter to the UK government

Below is an open letter to the UK government signed by charities, citizens and MP’s.

We the undersigned call on the Government to urgently review and refresh the UK’s strategy to support third sector mental health and social care organisations, to ensure we are able to continue to deliver our services to those in need.

On Monday 8th April 2020, Heath Secretary Matt Hancock announced an investment boost of £750m for charities. However, this money focuses specifically on providers such as, Hospices, St John Ambulance, Domestic Violence agencies and the Citizens Advice Bureau.  Mental Health provision was not included and controversially, we as social care providers were offered nothing more than a badge!

We don’t need a badge Mr Hancock we need you and the Government, to form a safety net around the services we provide, which are a lifeline to many in these unprecedented times.

We are facing a worsening mental health and social care crisis in the UK.  Many people are finding their current circumstances particularly difficult. Isolation, income reductions, business closures and the general uncertainty of the whole situation, has undoubtedly increased stress and anxiety levels.  Those who haven’t needed to access mental health support in the past are now also coming forward to seek assistance and information.

Third sector organisations, like ours, that do so much to help the communities we serve are literally fighting to survive. If we as charities aren’t able to help those who need our services, the UK will inevitably see an increase in mental health related problems such as anxiety and depression, as well as a rise in addictions and social consequences such as homelessness and relationship breakdowns.

The scale of the looming crisis is too serious to ignore. The Government’s current line of sight seems to only be 12 months ahead, what about after that? We know that the impacts of this pandemic will rumble on long after 2021 and we need support now, to make sure we are able to continue to provide services to those who’ve been affected by the crisis.  We as organisations have the experience and infrastructure to change the current trajectory, but a badge and disproportionate amount of additional funding is not going to help us, help people – we need government financial support now more than ever.

We’re putting everything into our coronavirus responses to increase our services and gain further funding, but there’s a danger that if we become too depleted we won’t be able to help those who need us once the pandemic is over.  

The Government’s £5 million grant for mental health is being administered by Mind. However, organisations such as The Kaleidoscope Plus Group and Wish can only apply for £20-50k over a 12-month period, which means that demand for the grant will be high and begs the question as to whether it’s right that certain charities are able to access funds without question, whilst many others have to compete for a mere fraction of it?

We are all in this together, as a nation, as companies and as charities. We recognise the need to pull together as a team through this crisis and direct our services as far and wide as possible to make sure that no one falls through the cracks. We have responsibilities as organisations to support and care for the people who need us and come what may, we will continue to do just that.

We are working #TogetherForChange and we hope that our combined efforts will help us in our endeavours to continue to support people who need us so desperately right now, as well as into the future.

If you’re a member of the public, an MP or a third sector organisation who’s also been affected by this crisis and the government’s existing strategy for the mental health and social care sectors and you want to show your support for our #TogetherForChange collective, please email us at info@kaleidoscopeplus.org.uk.

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