Organisations aiming to tackle high suicide rates in West Leeds are amongst the successful applicants in the latest round of grants from Leeds City Council.
The funding supports social activities for men determined by local men themselves and providing outreach work in order to reduce social isolation. Working closely with Leeds Community Foundation (LCF), the council is allocating funds to areas of need where activities for socially isolated men are lacking for communities with the highest suicide rates involving socially isolated men.
The programme is initially in place for three years, with over £70,000 distributed annually through both small grants of up to £10,000 and some large grants of up to £25,000.
Cllr Rebecca Charlwood, Leeds City Council executive member for Adults, Health and Wellbeing, said:
“Reducing suicide, attempted suicide and self-harm across Leeds is an absolute priority for the council. Sadly, we know that nationally men are over three times more likely to take their own life, and so we are committed to funding new and innovative ways to support individuals from higher-risk groups to live happier, healthier and more fulfilling lives.
“We also know that certain areas of the city experience higher levels of suicide and self-harm than others, and these grants are an excellent opportunity to connect with and make a difference in communities where it is most needed.”
Successful awards have gone to:
Leeds Mind‘s grant of £25,000 will enable them to specifically reach out to more men who reside in inner West Leeds and Horsforth who are at higher risk of suicide and who are least likely to engage with existing support.
Through their programme of outreach, their project worker will look to reduce barriers such as stigma and gender stereotyping and connect with and support 40 men, working with them to develop opportunities for mutual support and linking them in with local activities.
Through this work it is hoped men will improve their social networks, reduce their social isolation, improve their ability to talk about their feelings and develop coping strategies.
Male Suicide Prevention in LS12 and LS13
West Leeds-based Barca Leeds have been awarded £12,000, for a project working with communities in LS12 and LS13, and which is also funded thanks to an additional grant of £19,000 from Jimbo’s Fund.
Their INSIGHT Male Suicide Prevention Project will enable 45 vulnerable and isolated men to access and develop group activities, to build social networks, friendships, increase confidence, resilience and, where required, gain individual support from other specialist services.
Barca bring previous experience of working in LS12 through their INSIGHT project where they gathered personal experiences and views from local people who had been touched by male suicide.
Their year-long ‘Rise High’ pilot project, in the New Wortley Tower Blocks was very successful and as one man stated:
“The benefit of this project to me has been amazing. I have only been involved for a few weeks, however my mood and self-confidence has improved. Because of the project I have started volunteering and am doing MIDAS (minibus driver) training.”
Small grants of between £8,000 and £10,000 were also awarded to:
New Wortley Community Association is setting up a weekly walking group for socially isolated men living in and around New Wortley to come together, make friends, eat together as a group, talk about issues they may be facing and actively look for opportunities to get involved with local campaigns such as litter-picking, canal-side clean-ups in order to boost confidence and self-esteem by giving back to the local community.
Humans Being will be offering a series of training courses to equip volunteers in five community cafés as ‘men’s wellbeing ambassadors’.
Following the courses, volunteers will be able to use their skills and own life experiences to informally support vulnerable men who use the cafés.