Grants Programmes

This page holds information on any current NSUN (or NSUN hosted project) grants programmes, as well as details of our previous programmes.

We list external funding pots that might be of interest to user-led mental health groups on a different page on our website and in our members’ bulletin, where we will also post notice of any new NSUN (or NSUN hosted project) grant programmes.

Previous NSUN Grants Programmes

Synergi Grants Programme: Democratising Policy (Round 2, 2024)

Synergi logo

Synergi is an NSUN hosted project. Democratising Policy is its second grants programme, currently in progress, but now closed to new applications, for user-led groups working on mental health and racial justice.

The focus of this grants programme is on funding grassroots campaigning at the intersections of abolition, mental health, and racial justice, supporting communities who are racialised and have been harmed by the mental health system, incarceration, policing, prisons, psychiatry, and forensic settings and/or the immigration system.

The programme is for England-based groups, with a yearly income of under £50k, led by and for people racialised as Black or People of Colour who live with mental ill-health, distress, and trauma and whose work benefits people who have been impacted by, or work on, one of the following areas: prisons and policing, lived experience of mental health settings, immigration detention and removal centres, working at the intersection of mental ill health, distress, trauma, and racial and/or disability justice using an abolitionist framework.

Synergi Grants Programme (Round 1, 2023)

Synergi logo

Synergi is an NSUN hosted project. Synergi’s first annual grants programme awarded 37 grants of £3000, totalling £111,000, to groups led by Black people and People of Colour with lived experience of mental ill-health, distress, and trauma.

This programme prioritised groups led by and for people from Muslim communities, trans and non-binary communities, and refugees and people seeking asylum, as well as groups with a yearly project income of under £25,000 and groups with non-traditional structures.

It hoped to fund groups that were organising around abolitionist principles outside of mainstream services and those that are building community, focusing on what we term collective care. It also aimed to fund actions around campaigning and protesting to resist and challenge state violence.

The grants programme funded costs to deliver support and activities, including staff or freelance costs, renting/hiring space, materials and equipment, and group member expenses, and also costs for organisational development, including training and coaching, reflective practice and business planning.

Sustaining Spaces Fund (2022)

NSUN logo with the text 'sustaining spaces' above it in a semi circle

The Sustaining Spaces Fund awarded 27 small grants of between £500-£1000, totalling £25,180, to groups facilitating community spaces where people with shared identities and experiences come together in support of one another’s wellbeing. 

The Fund was open to peer support, mutual aid or self-help groups, but was not limited to groups defining themselves in this way. We funded groups who are led “by and for” members of communities. These groups are sometimes called “user-led groups”, but again, some groups may not define themselves in that way.

Much of this work, particularly amongst communities facing various forms of marginalisation and oppression, is being done in order to create safe, affirming spaces of connection and healing. This fund aimed to support the needs of those involved and the continuation of these spaces, whether they are local or online.   

We prioritised applications from: 

  • Groups led by and for people from racialised communities/people of colour 
  • Groups led by and for young people (approximately defined as 18-25) 
  • Groups led by and for people from LGBTQ+ and QTIBPOC communities

This fund was supported by Mind’s PeerFest programme.

The NSUN Side By Side Fund (2021)

The Side by Side Fund awarded small 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.

We prioritised:

  • 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

This opportunity was made available through Mind’s Side by Side: Peer Support in your community project, which was funded by Morrisons Foundation and Garfield Weston Foundation.

Find out what we learned from the Side by Side Fund here.

The NSUN Covid-19 Fund (2020)

NSUN awarded 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.

Hear about new grants

Become a member of NSUN and receive our weekly e-bulletin, where we will share information about new grants