We do not currently have a live grants programme, but please do check back regularly for updates. You can also find external funding opportunities through our ebulletins, which you receive weekly as a member of NSUN.
You can read about our previous grant programmes below.
The NSUN Side By Side Fund
The Fund awarded grants of up to £500 to peer support, mutual aid or self-help groups in England and Wales to connect remotely, prepare to move their activities to face-to-face, or make their group more sustainable.
The grant was aimed at peer support, mutual aid or self-help groups that benefit people or communities who live with mental ill-health, trauma and distress, take place in a community setting (i.e. not NHS or local authority), and are in some way led by members of the community they engage.
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 will define themselves as ‘mental health groups’. We were and are interested in groups who recognise that coming together supports wellbeing, healing or connection, and other things we associate with our mental health.
Podcast episode: learning from the Side By Side Fund
Listen to Mark Brown sit down with Emma Ormerod and Ruairi White, who administered the Side By Side Fund, talk about the barriers user-led groups face trying to get funding, the genuine representation of lived experience in grant-making, and the power of making funding processes as accessible as possible.
How do I apply?
The application was through an online form – **applications are now closed**
- You can download a copy of the questions in the online form in a Word document here.
- Click here to download a copy of the questions in the online form in Welsh.
- Click here to download an Easy Read version of the questions in the online form (and of this page).
- Click here to download an Easy Read Welsh version of the questions in the online form (and of this page).
How much can I apply for?
The Fund will award grants of up to £500. The minimum award is £200. Please contact us at email@example.com if you have any questions about this.
What can I apply for?
The Fund is for peer support, mutual aid or self-help group groups to connect remotely, prepare to move their activities to face-to-face, or make their group more sustainable.
Examples of activities which could be funded include: PPE/cleaning materials; travel for members; zoom subscription/online platforms; equipment such as a laptop or tablet; mobile data; room hire; DBS checks for facilitators; activity materials. This is not an exhaustive list.
Which groups will you prioritise?
We anticipate receiving more applications than we can fund. We aim to prioritise those groups most in need of funding. We encourage groups to apply who have not previously applied for funding previously from NSUN or other funders.
We are particularly interested in applications from
- 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
NSUN is committed to diversity and equality, and actively welcomes applications to support people who live with mental ill-health, distress and trauma within communities that face other disadvantages and exclusion.
Is there anything you won’t fund?
We will not fund core organisational costs. Successful applications will express clearly why the money is needed for the groups, and who it will help. If you are still in doubt as to whether your group should apply to this fund, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is your process?
We anticipate a high number of applications. We will not be able to fund every application, and we will be making funding decisions in the following way.
Every application will be read by a grants manager, who may at this stage get back to you with additional questions. Only applications which meet the following criteria will be processed further:
- Your group must be a peer support/mutual aid/self-help group based in England or Wales.
- Your group must be benefitting people or communities who live with mental ill-health, trauma and distress.
- Your group must take place in a community setting
Your proposal must be about your group connecting remotely, preparing to move your activities to face-to-face, or making your group more sustainable.
We will then follow up applications which meet these criteria via telephone/online call. We can only put forward applications after this call.
We will then send successful applicants a grant agreement which will need to be signed and returned (over email). We anticipate that the timeline between application and decision will be between 3 and 4 weeks.
I need help with the application form
You can contact us at email@example.com if you need help with the application form.
Will you fund groups in Northern Ireland or Scotland?
The Fund will only fund groups based in England and Wales. However, as many groups are now online, we understand that group members may be based in other nations, and that is fine. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions about this.
When does the grant need to be spent?
The grants will need to be spent by 31 December 2021. They will be awarded by the end of July.
When will the Fund close?
The NSUN Side by Side Fund is scheduled to close on the 31 May. If this is extended, we will update this page.
Welsh and Easy Read versions of all the above information and FAQs
The NSUN Covid-19 Fund
NSUN awards grants totalling £120,000 to 88 organisations and groups, to support peer support, community action and mutual aid for mental health during Covid-19
Thanks to £5m support from government (the Department of Health and Social Care), grants of £20,000 or £50,000 were made available for mental health support delivered by the Voluntary and Community Sector, distributed via the Coronavirus Mental Health Response Fund.
As part of this funding programme, NSUN administered a smaller fund to support community led and user-led groups and organisations who might not otherwise be eligible for a grant. Grants of up to £2000 were available to support community action, peer support, mutual aid and other activities that made a direct difference to the lives of people living with mental ill-health, trauma and distress during this Covid-19 period.
NSUN was then awarded a second grant, to distribute grants of £5,000 to existing NSUN grantees which were organisations or groups led by and for people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Communities. Thanks to an additional grant from Lankelly Chase, we then awarded an additional £10,000 to 10 organisations, groups and collectives.
Historically, unconstituted groups have been left out of these funds so we were delighted with this commitment to supporting user led and community led groups. We believe that this fund has demonstrated the value, impact and reach of projects and collectives led by lived experience.
As part of our evaluation of the grant, we asked 10 organisations or groups to produce a short video to talk about their work and how they adapted to the pandemic using the funding. The complete series is now available here.