NSUN Side By Side Fund distributes grants of £500 to 37 user-led groups

NSUN side by side fund logo - the pink NSUN logo with "Side By Side Fund" written underneath in orange

NSUN’s Side By Side fund made grants of £500 to 37 peer support, mutual aid or self-help groups benefiting people and communities who live with mental ill-health, trauma and distress in England and Wales.

In this context, we defined peer support as the intentional action of bringing people together who have experiences in common, to offer mutual support. Not all groups who applied or who were successful in receiving funding define themselves as ‘mental health groups’. We were especially interested in groups who recognise that coming together supports wellbeing, healing or connection, and other things we associate with our mental health.

We had three funding priorities:

  • Groups led by and for people from racialised communities/people of colour
  • Groups led by and for young people (aged 18-25)
  • Groups who have been unable to meet during the pandemic, which may be due to digital poverty

We received 215 applications, and made grants of £500 to 37 organisations. You can read about the grantees below.

This grant-making programme demonstrated the importance and the vitality of peer support, mutual aid and self-help groups, but also indicated that these groups find it hard to access support from other funders, and face challenges that bigger organisations don’t. This echoes our findings in our What do user led groups need? (2020) report. We’ll be sharing what we learned from the NSUN Side By Side fund through a series of short podcasts over the next few months.