Illustration of hands cradeling an oak sappling in a pot

Shifting power and resource in mental health and racial justice is central to Synergi’s work. As part of this, we’re running an annual grants programme, and are building relationships with funders so that grassroots work in this space is valued and resourced.

In  January 2023, we launched our first grants programme, welcoming applications from groups led by and for Black and People of Colour with lived experience of mental ill health, distress and/or trauma.

We awarded 37 grants of £3000, totalling £111,000. You can read about some of the groups we funded here.

We prioritised groups led by and for people from Muslim communities; groups led by and for people from trans & non-binary communities; and groups led by and for refugees & people seeking asylum. We also called for applications from those with a yearly project income of under £25,000; with non-traditional structures (including those that are unregistered) as these organisations can struggle to attract funding.

£ 111,000
provided in grant funding
grants awarded

We hoped to fund groups that were organising around abolitionist principles outside of mainstream services, those that are building community, focusing on what we term collective care. This might look like providing food and essentials parcels, writing to incarcerated community members, creating opportunities for people to come together and support each other using shared experiences as in peer support groups, mutual aid, creative practices like dance or singing, or covering the costs of accessing therapy or other healing practices.

We also wanted to fund actions around campaigning and protesting to resist and challenge state violence. This could include work to create change on a local or national level, sharing information and skills such as community organising training, or creating resources for members of their community to better advocate for themselves.

We provided costs to deliver support and activities – inclusive of staff or freelance costs, rent for space or room hire, materials for activities (art supplies etc.), equipment, and volunteer and group member expenses. Whilst also providing costs for organisational development – this could include training and coaching, tech subscriptions or equipment, reflective practice or business planning, anything needed to help groups better support their community.

We are very excited to get to this stage, and we are using this time post distribution, to take learnings from this process. We know that we didn’t hear from everyone and there are many good reasons why not all small projects applied for funding. Some simply don’t have the time or resource to put in an application; some don’t want to take money from the charitable sector; some are already well resourced.

We are digging deeper into Synergi’s values and for 2024 will build a grants programme with a real focus on the redistribution of power through Participatory Grant Making principles. We are reconnecting with applicants we were unable to fund, and invite them to join us in the other Synergi workstreams.

Please click here for a full list of who we funded. Sign up to the newsletter for announcements of our next funding round.