Community Constellations helps community-led groups to do what they do best – supporting people and building their communities. We work with partner organisations to create generative spaces in which user-led organisations can support each other and build for the future. Starting in 2021, we are working with our partners to produce reflective spaces and create resources for people involved in user-led organisations.
Ruairi White (email@example.com)Communities and Grants Manager
Community Constellations is a capacity-building project for the vibrant but precarious user-led and community-led sector. The project was initially funded for six months by City Bridge Trust via the London Community Response Fund. Through the programme, we support the work of user-led groups, particularly focusing on grassroots groups at the intersections of mental health, race, disability and queerness, who are doing things that bigger charities or statutory services can’t or won’t.
The project follows on from the NSUN Covid-19 Fund (NSUN’s first grants programme, which has now been followed by several others) and is looking to support and network groups and organisations which support people living with mental ill health, distress or trauma.
Programme resources and publications
User-led groups are often formed organically and at a grassroots level, having to learn as they go when setting up and growing, and face the ‘hidden curriculum’ of forming, running and managing an organisation.
There are several areas of support and knowledge that are needed and shared across groups, such as around funding, governance, and organisational structure. We commissioned a series of video resources by and for representatives of user-led groups to help share some of this knowledge. You can watch the videos here.
Shared Learning Sessions
We held three shared learning sessions with Switchboard, Taraki, and Make Space covering online peer support, safe virtual spaces in peer support, and navigating the topic of self-harm in online peer support spaces. You can watch recordings of the first two and read a blog post on the third here.
Funding Grassroots Mental Health Work report
This report explores the ways that user-led mental health groups find it difficult to get funding to sustain themselves. It aims to support funders to resource these groups sustainably. Read the report, including our action points for funders, here.
- Resourcing user-led work by Ruairi White and Alaina Heath
- Reimagining Safety Beyond Safeguarding by Ruairi White
- User-led groups member blog category
Resources for funders
We have also produced resources aimed at funders wanting to fund – or improve their practice of funding – user-led work. This includes videos from members discussing “red flags” in funding and how to improve the offer, suggested reading including NSUN member blogs about the challenges of running user-led groups, and a podcast episode discussing what we learned from the NSUN Side by Side Fund. Browse the resources for funders here.