ANNUAL VITAL SIGNS REPORT FOCUSES ON WORSENING TRENDS IN MENTAL HEALTH AND INCREASING LEVELS OF HOMELESSNESS IN BERKSHIRE.
Berkshire Community Foundation (BCF), is today publishing its annual Vital Signs Report, highlighting challenges faced in Berkshire. Understanding needs and issues in a community are the first step to being able to tackle them. This is what the Vital Signs programme does, allowing us to identify the issues affecting the most vulnerable in our society and guide the generosity of local philanthropists towards area’s most in need.
We report on worrying trends in worsening mental health and increasing levels of homelessness in Berkshire.
Responses to our survey highlight a need to focus on improving mental health in the workplace, better signposting of services and the crucial importance of a safe home.
The good news is that philanthropy is making a difference. In 2016/2017 BCF awarded £979,263 in grants across Berkshire to groups offering a range of support addressing need including: offering over 2,000 counselling sessions to young people, supporting isolated parents/carers via a helpline; providing low income families with information and advice to enable them to reduce energy costs and placing 44 volunteers into local charities.
“We had a fantastic response to our Vital Signs survey for this year. This year’s report has found significant and growing issues affecting our local community, with mental health and homelessness proving to be the biggest challenges across the board. With deepening cutbacks in vital services, particularly around mental health, more people are facing difficulties. This is why it is imperative that we, as a Community Foundation, do everything we can to support the local voluntary sector who are striving to fill gaps in provision and address suffering. We are continuing to encourage grassroots philanthropy in our local community to ensure that this need is met” Jim Fyfe, Head of Development at BCF.