PHA funding supporting groups across the Southern Trust area

Michael Scott

Reporter:

Michael Scott

Email:

michael.scott@ulstergazette.co.uk

ALMOST 50 projects within the Southern Trust area have benefited from investment by the Public Health Agency (PHA), it has been revealed.

Despite the difficulties coronavirus has caused this year, there are over 334 projects in communities across Northern Ireland that have benefited from over £975,000 investment by the PHA.

This investment has been the result of a short-term funding programme to support the mental and emotional wellbeing of communities, with thousands of participants of all ages and backgrounds benefiting.

One of the 49 groups funded within the Southern Trust area was Parenting NI. Through the short-term support fund they were able to support parents living in the Southern Trust area to better support their children’s emotional health through the provision of three workshops provided online called 'Supporting Children’s Emotional Health; Parenting in the Pandemic and Helping Children Manage Change in the Pandemic’.

Charlene Brooks, CEO at Parenting NI said: “Emotional health plays a central role in children’s mental and psychological development as well as their general health.

“Good emotional and mental health is important to help strengthen children’s capacity to build their resilience. During these challenging times for families, it is important to ensure they are supported now more than ever, to help combat the impact COVID-19.”

Parents who took part in the project said: “I have learned that many other parents share the same concerns as I have, which has helped me to be a little less hard on myself. I have now realised how important self-care is, I need to reduce my expectations and explore options to seek help. I shouldn’t be afraid to express my need for support.”

Another added : “This support has helped me to open up the communication more between my children  and  talk to them more about how they are feeling.”

Fiona Teague, Mental and Emotional Wellbeing lead at PHA, said: “Given the challenging environment that we have been experiencing with the impact of COVID-19, we wanted to respond quickly to help ensure wellbeing in our communities.

“The Public Health Agency was keen to fund programmes the communities that had a particular focus on those using one or more of the ‘Take 5’ Steps to Wellbeing’.  These are five simple steps that we can build into our daily lives to maintain and improve wellbeing – connect, be active, keep learning, give and take notice.

“The breadth, creativity and ingenuity of the projects is truly inspiring, and the groups’ commitment to creating then executing their ideas in these challenging times makes this even more impressive.”

The short-term funding programme has awarded grants of between £1,000 and £5,000 and have enabled community and voluntary sector groups to implement small-scale programmes within communities.

The investment has provided direct support in response to the impact of the COVID-19pandemic on our communities and demonstrated how they could contribute to building capacity, emotional resilience and mental and emotional wellbeing.

A spokesperson for the PHA said that Parenting NI’s project demonstrates the short-term funding programme has provided the opportunity for community and voluntary groups to build mental and physical resilience and to help people cope better during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Further information on future short-term funding programmes will be available directly from the PHA website.

To find out more about the Take 5 Steps to Wellbeing visit www.mindingyourhead.info

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