East Fife Mental Health Befriending Project

This Project was established to bridge the gap in services for people who are isolated as a result of their mental health issues.  It works across the rural areas of East Fife and Levenmouth, including many small towns and villages.  The Befriending Project works by recruiting and training volunteer befrienders and matching them with people with mental health issues who are referred to the service.  Volunteer befrienders will spend time with the people they are linked to, and support them in accessing activities or visiting places they would like to go to. There are also four main group social events each year run by the charity that enable everyone to get together and enjoy some social interactions.

At the February 2023 meeting of Trustees, the Allen Lane Foundation awarded a grant of £7,000, split over two years, towards the Project’s general running costs.  The intended outcomes over the period of the grant are that: beneficiaries will become less socially isolated as a result of being befriended; they will have increased confidence and self-esteem; and that they will be more involved in community and group events



Magheralin Parish Caring Association

This charity works across a parish of around 2,500 families in the two small rural villages of Magheralin and Dollingstown and surrounding areas in County Down. It has set up a community venture to address needs in the local area and to offer activities and programmes that are designed to meet people’s needs. It runs various programmes benefitting all sections of the community – including a toddler group, groups for older people and community events.

The Association requested funding towards setting by a new therapeutic gardening club aimed at improving the mental health of local people. It will encourage people to be more active, to make friends and provide a positive peer support network for people who are involved. Allen Lane Foundation Trustees agreed a £4,320 contribution towards the salary of a gardener who would run the project at the meeting in February 2023.

Battle Scars

Battle Scars is a Leeds-based charity running peer support services for people who are affected by self-harm. It is survivor-led, and aims to provide reliable, sensitive, compassionate and non-judgemental support; increase wider awareness and reduce the stigma surrounding self-harm; and help people develop healthier coping strategies for life’s challenges.

The Allen Lane Foundation made a grant to Battle Scars at the October 2022 meeting. £7,228 is helping to fund the new part-time Services Support role. The worker is supporting the increasing numbers of people who are accessing the services, and provide face-to-face, virtual and telephone support. Outcomes for the beneficiaries include a reduction in self-harming through introducing healthier coping strategies; increased confidence and self-awareness; and a reduction in feelings of shame.


Brighton Yoga Foundation

Brighton Yoga Foundation’s primary focus is ‘to bring the scientifically proven physical, mental and social benefits of yoga to those who for whatever reason do not have access to it or think that it’s not for them’. The charity provides a wide range of therapeutic yoga programmes and outreach work to the local communities, with client groups including people with physical and mental health issues, elderly people, people affected by trauma, homeless people, women escaping abusive relationships, and vulnerable adults.

At the October 2022 meeting, Allen Lane Foundation trustees agreed a grant of £4,020. This is to fund a project working with in-patients at Mill View Hospital, a mental health hospital in Brighton. This follows a pilot programme that was very well received with reports from patients that their anxiety and depression levels had improved. The yoga programme offers therapeutic yoga in both group sessions and on a one-to-one basis. Anticipated outcomes are that patients will benefit from the routine of attending a regular session that is safe, therapeutic and specific to their needs; and that both their physical and mental wellbeing will be improved through the calming and gentle yoga practice.


Norfolk Clubhouse

This charity has been set up on the existing ‘International Clubhouse Model’ that focuses on peer-led structured support groups.  Norfolk Clubhouse is based in Norwich and is working to establish two mental health hubs – in the rural market town of Watton, and in the Thorpe Hamlet part of Norwich.  The Watton hub meets twice-weekly and is facilitated by a sessional worker, who supports members in whatever they wish to develop, such as helping write a CV and find employment, or plan activities such as cookery sessions for example.  The hub at Thorpe Hamlet now meets twice a week with longer sessions has some focus on creative projects that members are interested in.  It is also developing a community garden at the hub and possibly a Men’s Group.

In June 2022, the Foundation agreed funding towards running costs of Norfolk Clubhouse.  The £3,000 will contribute towards existing costs of the hubs, and help support the organisation to further develop and open more clubs.  Overall, clubs benefit members through improving wellbeing, enabling better access to services, and boosting their confidence and motivations.


Talk ED

Talk ED is the rebranded charity Anorexia and Bulimia Care that has been in existence since 1989.  It was founded by families with lived experience of eating disorders to provide recovery-focussed support, both to people affected by eating disorders themselves, and their families and friends.  Core services are delivered online and via telephone.  Talk ED also has a useful website and resources that provide relevant information, as well as personal stories of recovery that are designed to raise awareness and give hope to people looking for help.  One-to-one support is available, through appointment-based calls, and also group support offered online.

At the June 2022 meeting, Allen Lane Foundation Trustees offered funding of £12,000 towards the charity’s core running costs.  As a national organisation it deals with many thousands of calls, emails and requests for support each year.  People benefitting report feeling understood, supported and empowered, and the charity also helps carers to be better informed and equipped to support their loved one.


Eating Distress North East

Eating Distress North East works to support anyone affected by eating distress – a term used to include people with eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia for instance, and all those with anxieties around, or difficult relationships with, food and eating. Based in central Newcastle, it’s services are open to anyone from Northumberland, Tyne & Wear and County Durham. It aims to provide high quality services to individuals and their family members/carers, and to facilitate understanding and early identification. It offers one-to-one support as well as counselling; fortnightly health and wellbeing workshops; a monthly friends and family support group; mindfulness courses; training courses for carers; and provides training and educational talks in schools, colleges and workplaces to raise awareness and upskill others. Around 3,000 people benefit per annum.

At the October 2021 Trustee meeting, a two-year grant of £5,000pa was agreed for Eating Distress North East. The grant will contribute towards general running costs of the charity. Expected outcomes are that: the charity will ensure early help and intervention for individuals, and achieve better understanding of and improved mental health; it will help people develop coping strategies and help them move on with their lives from a critical time; and that individuals will have reduced loneliness and social isolation as a result of the charity’s support.


Larne Wellbeing Hub

Larne Wellbeing Hub offers various services for anyone in the local community who is affected by a range of issues including mental health problems such as anxiety or depression, and addiction or substance misuse, suicide, or self-harm.  Free counselling is available, along with drop-ins, wellbeing ‘check-ins’, mentoring, a listening ear service and one-to-one emotional support.  Services largely moved online due to Covid, with new online support groups offered in addition.

At the June 2021 Trustee meeting, the Foundation awarded £3,000 to the Larne Wellbeing Hub. This will contribute towards salary costs. The charity aims to be able to open the centre for more hours each week, increasing the capacity of appointments with people.  Outcomes of its work overall are to address loneliness issues and offer a space for people to be heard; to increase coping skills and resilience; and to lower the mental distress of users of the service.

African Women Impact

African Women Impact works with BME communities, especially women and young people, in order to give advice, information and support on a range of issues including education, health, domestic violence, immigration, employment etc.  It is based in Walsall in the West Midlands.  The charity runs various projects that aim to bring women together for peer support, provide positive and fun activities, and to empower women to make positive changes in their lives. Around 185 women and young people benefit from its work.

The Foundation awarded a grant of £2,000 in June 2021 to African Women Impact.  The grant is towards costs of a project that supports refugee women with mental health issues.  Around 25 women will be supported through a programme that meets twice-weekly and will be facilitated by a mental health sessional worker.  It will include health and wellbeing workshops, peer support, counselling and casework and crisis intervention where necessary.  Outcomes of the programme are that beneficiaries will be able to make sense of their experiences, drawing on their resilience and strength to recover and start rebuilding their lives; and that they will feel less socially isolated and lonely.




ACCEPT is a charity in Leicestershire that was set up to provide support to people with severe and enduring mental health issues.  It established a network of friendship groups across the region, and more recently its focus has been on developing a therapeutic gardening project based in the town of Barwell.  People are referred to ACCEPT, and can take part in various activities including weekly wellbeing gardening days, mindfulness-based courses, bereavement friendship groups and teambuilding workshops.  Around 70 people benefit each year.

The Foundation has agreed a grant of £6,000 at its February 2021 meeting.  This will contribute towards salaries to enable the running of the project over the following year. Anticipated outcomes for people who are supported by ACCEPT include: improved confidence, self-esteem and health with a reduction in symptoms of poor mental health; reduced feelings of isolation through an increase in social contacts; and a reduction in stigma and discrimination through making new connections with the community.