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Thousands of people across Wales to receive mental health first aid training

Thousands of volunteers across Wales will be trained to better spot and support people suffering mental health problems thanks to a £400,000 grant announced recently by the Big Lottery Fund. 

Some 13 projects across Wales are sharing £2,787,644 awarded through the Big Lottery Fund’s People and Places programme (full list here).

More than 2,000 people across Wales will be trained in mental health first aid following a£432,390 grant awarded to New Pathways Family Friendly Therapeutic Centre of Excellence

The free training will teach them to recognise the signs of poor mental health, offer support and sign post people to services to get additional help. There will also be ongoing help and peer support provided to all first aiders through the establishment of new community support groups. 

Mike Wilkinson, New Pathways Deputy Chief Executive Officer, said: “This will make a significant contribution to the care and support received by people who suffer from poor mental health in Wales, and it will also raise awareness of the issues that they face and help to reduce the stigma that is often associated with mental illness.” 

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With its £215,330 award, Advocacy Matters (Wales) will provide an independent, one-to-one advocacy service to adults with autism spectrum condition in south east Wales with the aim of helping them live more independently in their communities.

Jane Lane, Director of Advocacy Matters (Wales), said: “We are delighted to be awarded this funding to help us to achieve our long-standing ambition to expand our independent casework advocacy services. Often adults with Autism spectrum conditions (ASC) do not get the help and support they need to maintain their independence. 

“This Project will provide the opportunity for adults with ASC to access a free and confidential quality assured advocacy service specifically to support them to address specific issues and problems which may hinder their right to a family life and to live as independently as is possible in their community.” 

And also supporting people with the condition, The National Autistic Society receives£116,315 to expand its network of branches from 13 to 17 as well as enhancing services it currently provides. 

The funding will see new support branches in Flintshire, Monmouthshire, Swansea and Torfaen which will better support affected families. 

CSV receives £234,362 for its Sex Matters Too project. This will help raise young people’s awareness of issues surrounding healthy relationships and sexual exploitation. 

Working with Gwent NHS Trust and Public Health Wales, the project will recruit and train 450 local young people as voluntary peer educators to lead activities. 

Natasha John, Business Development Manager for CSV, said: “It will help us to promote positive health and well-being amongst young people living in communities across Torfaen, Caerphilly, Newport and Monmouthshire

“We will engage and train young people as 'peer educators', who will take the lead on activities in their own community, working with others to raise awareness of many emerging issues. Who better than young people themselves, to help their peers stay safe and live healthier lives?” 

Highlighting the importance of the People and Places programme, Rona Aldrich, Wales Committee Member for the Big Lottery Fund, said: “Programmes like People and Places are making a difference to the lives of so many people in communities across Wales.

“It delivers on our promise to use National Lottery funding to regenerate and revitalise communities, tackle disadvantage head on and leave a lasting legacy.” 

The People and Places programme awards grants of between £5,001 and £1 million for a broad range of community projects. For further information about the programme and how you can apply for funding, please visit  

Further Information:

David Symons - Big Lottery Fund Press Office: 01686 611708 
Out of Hours Contact: 07980 914 898 
Public Enquiries Line: 08454 102030 Textphone: 0845 6021 659

Full details of the Big Lottery Fund programmes and grant awards are available  
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Notes to Editors:

  •  The Big Lottery Fund is responsible for giving out 40% of the money raised by the National Lottery.
  • The Fund is committed to bringing real improvements to communities and the lives of people most in need and has been rolling out grants to health, education, environment and charitable causes across the UK. Since its inception in 2004 it has awarded close to £6bn.
  • In the year ending 31 March 2013, 28% of total National Lottery revenue was awarded to projects. Since the National Lottery began in 1994, £31 billion has been raised and more than 400,000 grants awarded.


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