Building Brighter Futures

Building Brighter Futures will fund work to improve the mental health of children and young people aged 10-19 years old who are living in the most challenging circumstances and who face complex difficulties.

An alarming number of children and young people are experiencing difficulties with their mental health. Certain groups of children and young people are particularly vulnerable. Receiving early and appropriate care can positively impact the course of their lives. While there is no easy fix to the current situation, innovative solutions and better collaboration can help build a brighter future for generations to come.

Key information

Funding call: Building Brighter Futures

Summary: Building Brighter Futures will fund work to improve the mental health of children and young people aged 10-19 years old who are living in the most challenging circumstances and who face complex difficulties.

Amount available: We are offering a grant for project development for £5,000-£15,000 at Expression of Interest stage. At Full Application stage, we expect most grants to be £300,000-£500,000, but we are open to grants for up to £1 million.

Aimed at: Integrated care organisations and partnerships, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, King’s College London, voluntary and community organisations, schools, colleges and alternative provisions.

Key dates: Expression of interest opens Monday, 24 June & closes Wednesday, 18 September 2024.

About the programme 

Maudsley Charity has committed £10 million over the next 5 years to fund work that improves the mental health of children and young people who are living in the most challenging circumstances and who face complex difficulties. Projects should focus on 10–19-year-olds experiencing emerging and developing mental health difficulties and affected by at least one of the following risk factors:

  • Living in deprivation
  • Vulnerable family circumstances
  • Impacted by racism and/or discrimination
  • Neurodiversity or learning disabilities
  • Substance use

We have drawn on data, the views of children and young people, and insights from a range of professionals. They highlighted these factors as key risks for significant mental health difficulties that affect young people into adulthood, and reduce the likelihood of getting the right care at the right time.

We encourage applicants to respond to more than one risk factor, understanding that multiple forms of disadvantage often combine to worsen children and young people’s mental health. You do not need to focus on all five risk factors.

It is important that applicants to Building Brighter Futures use a co-production approach. Proposals should be shaped from the start with the significant involvement of children and young people, their families or carers, the wider community and the varied professionals who support them.

We strongly encourage proposals that involve a mix of organisations. Our research shows that more collaboration is needed to bring innovative thinking and effective approaches to respond to multiple risk factors and address complex problems. We are open to different collaborations and partnerships, but we will not exclude applications from single organisations.

We expect that successful co-developed proposals will offer fresh perspectives on how to best support children and young people with emerging and developing mental health difficulties who are most failed by current models of care and support.

We understand that it takes time and resources to engage children and young people, their families and carers, and to develop partnership proposals, so we are offering an optional development grant to support co-production.

Frequently Asked Questions will be provided at the beginning of June 2024.

Eligibility

We are looking for projects that:

  • Focus on children and young people aged 10–19 experiencing emerging and developing mental health difficulties and affected by at least one of the following risk factors:
    • Living in deprivation
    • Vulnerable family circumstances
    • Impacted by racism and/or discrimination
    • Neurodiversity or learning disabilities
    • Substance use
  • Commit to co-production and collaboration
  • Develop, adapt or scale innovative and effective approaches
  • Demonstrate benefit in one of more of the boroughs served by South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust: Lambeth, Lewisham, Southwark and Croydon.

Who can apply?

The following organisations are eligible to apply as the lead applicant:

          • Integrated care organisations and partnerships, for example:
            • Integrated Care Board of southeast London (for projects across Lambeth, Lewisham and Southwark)
            • Integrated Care Board of southwest London (for projects in Croydon)
            • Local Care Partnerships: Lambeth Together, Lewisham Health and Care Partnership, Partnership Southwark, One Croydon Health and Care Partnership
            • Primary Care Networks across Lambeth, Lewisham, Southwark and Croydon
          • South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (including CAMHS and CAMHS/adult collaborations)
          • King’s College London / Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience
          • Local voluntary or community sector organisations based in Lambeth, Lewisham, Southwark and Croydon
          • National voluntary or community sector organisations who work in or who are interested in working in our four boroughs, including in partnership with local voluntary or community sector organisations
          • Schools, colleges and alternative provisions

Preferred involvement

We would prefer applications to involve South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust in some capacity – to establish better connections across the mental healthcare system, support appropriate access to mental health services; and explore innovative approaches to mental health support to address intense and growing demand. The involvement might range from the Trust being the lead applicant, to a partner applicant, to a lighter touch advisory role.

We are also interested in applications involving:

          • Voluntary and community sector organisations to connect and develop trust with communities and harness the assets, knowledge and skills in communities.
          • Researchers to capture learning, evidence and measure impact.

Current and past grant holders of Maudsley Charity are eligible to apply. If applying with an existing and previously funded project, proposals should demonstrate new approaches and significant adaptation based on learning and evidence captured.

Application process and timeline

To support applicants, we are holding four Connection Workshops in June and July 2024. The aim is to help connect organisations interested in collaborating on applications, and to bring people together to discuss the problems and propose fresh solutions.

Stage 1: Expressions of Interest

As part of your Expression of Interest (EOI), you can apply for a development grant if you require funds to co-produce your full application. We expect development grants to be in the region of £5,000-£15,000, depending on the scope of your proposal.

Successful EOI applicants will be invited to make a full application, and those who applied for the optional development grant, will be notified of the outcome at this stage.

Milestones

Open for Expressions of Interest – 9:00am, 24 June 2024

Deadline to submit Expressions of Interest – 11:00am, 18 September 2024

Applicants notified of outcome – from 21 October 2024

We understand that it takes time and resources to partner with others and to meaningfully involve children and young people, their families and carers in developing a project idea. We are providing a lengthy period for co-production activities before the deadline for the full application. Depending on when you plan to submit, there will be 5-6 months to carry out co-production work.

Stage 2: Full Application

We expect most proposals to be for grants of £300,000-£500,000, but we are open to applications for up to £1 million in exceptional cases where a project proposal reflects greater ambition, scale or complexity.

We expect that most of the projects we fund will be delivered over 2-3 years. We will consider 4-year project proposals. We are very unlikely to fund projects that last less than 18 months.

Milestones

Open for Full Application – 9:00am, 10 March 2025

Deadline to submit full application – 11:00am, 4 April 2025

Conversations with applicants to support decisions – April – May 2025

Applicants notified of final decision – July 2025

Selection criteria

At each stage of the application process, after ensuring that applications meet the eligibility requirements, proposals will be reviewed against the following selection criteria:

  • Potential for impact
  • Evaluation and learning
  • Based on knowledge and evidence
  • Demonstrating the connection to the wider support and care system
  • Delivery and management

We understand that your EOI is an outline of your project idea and expect that you will explore it more deeply and gather more evidence in the development stage.

Support available to applicants

Before applying

Connection Workshops

The programme will begin with Connection Workshops in June and July 2024 in each of the four boroughs we serve; Lambeth, Lewisham, Southwark and Croydon. Attendance is not mandatory.

These workshops are open to people from across the mental health sector, primary care, local authorities and the local and national voluntary and community sector. They aim to raise awareness of the Building Brighter Futures programme, build connections across organisations, and encourage fresh, collective thinking on problems and solutions.

We are aiming for a good mix of different stakeholders at these workshops. Ideally you should attend the workshop in the borough you are working in or would like to work in. However, this is not essential if you work across multiple boroughs.

If you have any questions about the workshops, please contact grants@maudsleycharity.org with the subject line Brighter Futures workshop.

Advice and information

The Charity’s programme team is available to answer queries, give advice and help make connections with other organisations where possible.

Please contact: grants@maudsleycharity.org

After a successful Expression of Interest

Optional development grant

If you were successful with your application for a development grant, there is now between 5-6 months to spend it on developing new collaborations and co-producing your full application

We expect development grants to be in the region of £5,000-£15,000, in line with the scope of your proposed activities. We will fund costs including expenses (e.g. contribution towards time and travel) so you can engage with children and young people and their families/carers, room hire and refreshments, contribution to salaries (e.g. for VCS colleagues to attend meetings) and consultancy fees. Tell us how much you need and what it will be spent on in the relevant section of the EOI form.

This is to help connect with relevant and diverse voices: with children and young people and their families/carers, the wider community and the varied professionals who support them. Applicants should ensure that their input is used to define the problem the work is seeking to address as well as the proposed approach.

It is not mandatory to apply for a development grant, and whether or not you need one will not be a factor in assessing your full application. Full Applications will be considered against the selection criteria.

Expert coaching on co-production

You have the option to attend a workshop session on your proposed approach to co-production. This might cover core principles you can apply across the course of the project or focus on different considerations of co-production that are relevant to your project.

Monitoring and evaluation training

You have the option to attend a theory of change workshop in November 2024 and a project-focussed monitoring, evaluation and learning session.

Advice and information

The Charity’s programme team is available to answer questions, give advice and help make connections with other organisations where possible.

Exploratory projects

Learn more about the exploratory projects we funded to shape this programme.

As part of our development of Building Brighter Futures, we started with a learning phase during which we issued a limited funding call aimed at exploring how we could provide smaller grants to support projects that collaborate with and create pathways into CAMHS.

We identified three successful applicants, who received approximately £75,000 each to expand the delivery of their existing services through partnership working.

We have included them here for information only and not as examples of the scale of projects we expect to receive to the main programme, where we anticipate most proposals will be for larger grants of £300,000-£500,000.

Partners: Croydon Drop-In and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust

Total funding awarded: £75,000

Accessing mental health support at an early stage vastly reduces the likelihood of existing problems escalating further, but not all young people are equally likely to be able to do so. In particular, Black, mixed Black, Asian and young people from other minoritised groups do not access statutory CAMHS services in numbers that reflect the population distribution. This group of young people are typically suspicious of many statutory services, while cultural stigma around mental health means they are less likely to seek support from their family GP.

The Croydon Talkbus Safe Space is a mobile youth information and advice centre operated by Croydon Drop-In, an established youth counselling service that is deeply embedded in, and trusted by, the local community. The Talkbus service offers a safe, low-pressure space in which young people from underserved groups can engage with outreach workers. It has a proven track record of encouraging young people from these communities to seek mental health-related help and support in a variety of community settings.

Our funding will support Talkbus to expand its geographic reach and extend its operating hours from three to five days per week, so that more young people can access specialist services.

Partners: North Lewisham Primary Care Network, Metro, South East London Integrated Care System, and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust

Total funding awarded: £74,503

Lewisham GPs have reported seeing increasing levels of distress and poor emotional health amongst Lewisham young people, particularly within the 11-19 age group. These GPs have also identified a lack of opportunities for onward referral or for ongoing emotional and mental health support, which is vital for preventing the escalation of mild-to-moderate problems.

The Mulberry Hub offers walk-in physical and mental health services to young people aged 13-25 in North Lewisham. It was launched in 2022 as part of Lewisham’s Transformation Plan for Children and Young People and is managed by a multi-agency partnership led by Metro, an equality and diversity charity providing health, community and youth services.

A recent evaluation report showed that The Mulberry Hub has been successful in attracting and engaging young people, including those from Black and minoritised communities, but that additional support is needed to address the demand and to accept more referrals. This funding will pay for an additional part-time IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies) worker for the Hub’s ‘risk and resilience’ project, which aims to encourage access by young people who would be hesitant to approach regular GP or mental health services.

Partners: Black Thrive, Lambeth primary schools and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust

Total funding awarded: £74,972

Mental Health in Schools Teams (MHSTs) support school communities to develop a holistic approach to mental health and wellbeing. However, evaluations of MHSTs have shown that some children and young people are less likely to access support – especially those who are autistic or have learning difficulties and who are also from a non-white ethnic background.

This project will help MHSTs in Lambeth gain a better understanding and appreciation of what these children and young people and/or their parents/carers want and need from services, while also providing training for school staff around the early identification of mental health needs in autistic children and young people, and those from Black and minoritised backgrounds. The project will also explore the benefits of creating new resources and tools for this group, compared with the benefits of adapting existing resources to better suit their unique needs.

Participation and co-development will be at the core of all activities throughout this project, with each of the delivery partners working closely with local authorities, MHST partner schools, parents and carers, and of course with the children and young people themselves.