Hands & Gillingham Volunteer Centre

This Volunteer Centre operates across the Medway area of Kent and works in two ways: as a provider of volunteers for organisations who wish to use volunteers in their work; and also through direct service provision via the Hands scheme.  This scheme offers a variety of services in the local community, using its own volunteers to assist elderly, disabled, isolated or otherwise disadvantaged people.  It enables people to volunteer to help others, do something useful, and put something back into the community, and at the same time offering practical help with gardening or transport for example to others.

The Foundation’s grant of £2,500 pa for a two-year period began in October 2015.  The funding is towards a community friendship and befriending scheme which is benefitting older people and people with mental health problems amongst others.  Friendship groups run on a monthly basis in Twydall and Rainham and aim to reduce isolation and improve the quality of life of those attending.



Cambridge & District Volunteer Centre

The Volunteer Centre matches both individuals and groups interested in volunteering with appropriate opportunities in the local community, and provides on-going support and training to those placements. Last year it matched more than 450 placements.

Allen Lane made a contribution of £5,000 in October 2015 to the charity.

The funding is specifically towards the Supported Volunteering Project which was established in 2012.

This Project provides one-to-one assistance plus a monthly support group for around 70 people with mental health problems who wish to volunteer. Benefits include improved confidence, increased social activity and marked improvements in people’s mental health.


Plymouth Mental Health Network

This group is a member-led network of around 70 active organisations working to improve mental health services in the area and to ensure that mental health and well-being needs are appropriately addressed. It meets monthly and holds an annual regional conference, and offers a central resource and way to share knowledge, expertise and best practice.

The Network responds to requests from members and new ideas and projects. It applied to Allen Lane for £600 to set up a choir/singing group specifically for people with mental health problems following a surge of interest locally. The grant was made in June 2015 to enable to group to begin. It will offer a meaningful and fun social activity and aims to boost the well-being of participants.


Solas Moyle

This is a charity in Ballycastle on the north-eastern coast of Northern Ireland. It offers one-to-one support, counselling and group-work with the aim of improving people’s mental health and physical and emotional well-being. The goal is to help people to tackle the root causes of their problems, as well as improving confidence and self-esteem. The charity had been set up as a response to the rising suicide rate in the area.

Since inception, Solas Moyle had been run on a voluntary basis and had arrived at a critical point – to adapt further to meet the need. In June 2015 the Foundation contributed £1,200 towards the costs of a consultant who will assist the charity in identifying what is needed to move forward, to strengthen the organisation, and increase its capacity.

Mind Llanelli

This Mind group is affiliated to the National Mind, and offers two distinct services: a Befriending Service, and a Welcome Centre. Both benefit people with mental health difficulties and promote their recovery. More than 200 people are assisted with one-to-one and group support each year.

A £4,000 contribution was made in February 2015 towards the charity setting up a self-harm support group which aims to benefit around 20 people in the first year. There had been a gap in service provision for people who self-injure in Carmarthenshire, and a lack of education and information available. The group will explore why people self-harm, recognise triggers and patterns and offer strategies, with the aim of reducing and stopping the practice.



Bright aims to support the most marginalised, powerless people to express themselves and achieve a decent quality of life. Its main project currently is Star Wards. Star Wards works collaboratively with UK mental health wards to improve the experience of staff and visitors, as well as inpatients’ daily experiences and treatment outcomes.

The Foundation made a three-year grant totalling £15,000 in February 2015 towards salary costs of running the Star Wards initiative. Since it started up ten years ago, more than 650 wards across the UK have signed up to join the scheme, benefitting thousands of people through improved relationships, more therapeutic activities and increased safety.


No Panic Sheffield

No Panic Sheffield supports the recovery of people suffering from anxiety disorders, including panic attacks, phobias and obsessive compulsive disorders. It runs two regular self-help support groups in Sheffield – one on an evening, the other during the daytime – and there are around 100 members.

The Foundation made a grant of £1,725 in June 2014 towards costs of developing a group particularly for women, and also towards training resources. This will enable additional volunteer facilitators to be trained and supported in running the groups.



Medway & Swale Advocacy Partnership

This charity offers advocacy services to a range of vulnerable groups of people including people in hospital, people with mental health issues, BME groups, and people who are in prisons. Medway & Swale Advocacy Partnership is based in Kent with offices in Strood and Sittingbourne.

Through the provision of advocacy for/with people in prison, the charity recognised that on release, huge barriers and issues remain for individuals which mean they often return to crime. It applied for funding to the Foundation to extend its services to people as they leave prison, and was awarded £7,722 in June 2014 towards setting this up. The anticipation is that through the two-day-a-week post, the service will provide advocacy support and assistance to around 500 people a year.



The Kairos Centre in Newcastle (to the south of Belfast) offers a range of community activities – and received £4,760 in February 2014 towards its Men’s Shed project. This project involves training and work placements within a furniture recycling environment for men with a range of mental health issues. It aims to provide useful and meaningful skills and improve self-esteem and confidence of participants.