12 noon BST on 31 May 2019
We are inviting applications from United Kingdom, Ghana, Rwanda and Uganda
Funding is available for a minimum of 3 years and a maximum of 5 years
Applications are welcome for a minimum of £150,000 and a maximum of £450,000
This opportunity has closed
Comic Relief recognises that genuine impact requires focus; so, we target four key issue areas for our funding, one of which is global mental health. We believe that every person has the right to quality mental health support where and when they need it and has the right to live free from stigma and discrimination.
It is estimated that 450 million people are currently suffering from mental health problems. It is one of the leading causes of ill health and disability worldwide and is a major contributor to the 800,000 lives lost to suicide per year.
Comic Relief’s Sport for Change strategy aims to bring about positive social change for individuals and communities through the intentional use of sport and physical activity. More information can be found here.
There is a growing body of evidence that suggests that mental health can be improved through sports-based approaches which combine sport or physical activity with quality mental health support. However, this needs to be intentional. Research shows that taking part in any sport or physical activity will not automatically, on its own, positively benefit someone’s mental health. Programmes aiming to use sport or physical activity to support those with mental health problems need to be carefully designed to ensure they provide adequate support and are effective.
Comic Relief has launched this funding call with two aims:
Firstly, it aims to support new or existing work that combines sports based approaches with quality mental health support to reduce distress and/or improve mental wellbeing.
Secondly, it aims to contribute to the growing body of evidence by learning from projects about what approaches are effective for whom, in what contexts.
The fund will support work in the United Kingdom, Ghana, Uganda and Rwanda.
By sports based approaches, we mean programmes which combine a sport for change approach with specific therapeutic elements, and that have access to mental health expertise.
We aim to support projects that work with the most marginalised people, in the most disadvantaged communities.
In Ghana, Uganda and Rwanda, we understand that mental health problems may be more difficult to recognise and diagnose often as a result of stigma and discrimination as well as lower availability of and access to mental health services. We will therefore support the following in these countries:
In the UK we will focus on supporting organisations to use sports based approaches to support people who are already experiencing mental health problems, whether these are self-determined or diagnosed.
We have identified some key principles for the funding call which we encourage you to take into consideration, to ensure projects are well designed and have every opportunity to succeed. These principles are the result of desk based research and consultation with academics and practitioners working in the sector. These principles apply to both the UK and international territories.
1. Focus on improving mental wellbeing and helping people function better
Due to the range of cultural limitations around the issues of mental health, the relevance of sport across a range of mental health problems and the underlying stigma often associated with it, the fund will focus on promoting the use of sports based approaches that support wellbeing, improve functioning and reduce distress. Organisations should consider the following components:
2. Ensure mental health is intentional, not incidental
The fund will prioritise organisations running programmes which combine sport or physical activities with specific therapeutic elements, and who have access to mental health expertise.
Applications should have a clear theory of change for how your approach will affect wellbeing, showing an understanding of the existing evidence. Your application should be able to demonstrate how what you will do contributes to key outcomes that support wellbeing.
We understand you may need additional time to refine your theory of change before the project delivery starts, and we will allow you up to 6 months of your project period to do this. Our funding can be used to pay for this. All projects must use sport as a tool for change in the approach.
3. Sustained support for individuals and in communities
We will prioritise interventions which are embedded in local communities and which actively build local capacity and can demonstrate how they will continue once this funding finishes.
4. Quality and support of delivery staff
The quality of delivery staff is key to the effectiveness of the programme. We know that the relationships formed between participants and delivery staff is central to whether a programme has a positive impact on the mental health of participants. Because delivery staff are so central to successful programmes, it’s important to consider that delivery staff need to:
5. Partnerships and working collaboratively
We believe that projects developed and delivered in partnership with the people they aim to serve will be more effective in creating positive social change. Projects like this are more likely to respond to the priorities of the people they are trying to reach and be more able to identify appropriate solutions. Empowering participants to be part of the process can give them a sense of ownership of the project, helps build confidence and trust, and has the potential to strengthen community cohesion.
We encourage organisations to apply in partnership for this fund, particularly if you have identified a gap in expertise around either mental health or sport for change in your organisation
We seek to work with organisations that share our commitment to learning – it is central to much of what we do at Comic Relief. For that reason, we invest in organisations that can:
Please note that organisations cannot submit an application to this fund as well as to the “Bridging the Gaps: Working Together to Strengthen Mental Health Support for Children and Young People” Fund that will be open for applications from 6 May 2019. You can only submit an application to one of the funding calls.
Please note that there is a two-stage application process.
At stage 1, the following are some of the things we will want you to explain.
If you want, you can include a video of up to two minutes to summarise what you want us fund. Please note, however, that this is not a requirement.
Download the Stage 1 proposal guidance here.
If your proposal is approved for stage two some of the things you will need to explain are the following (complete guidance for the full proposal will be made available to successful applicants at stage two).
It is important to review Comic Relief’s funding eligibility criteria
If you have further questions you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can download the FAQs for this funding opportunity here.
Please submit questions by Monday 13th May and we will aim to publish them on Friday 17th May 2019.
A big thank you to Lindsey Kittredge (of Shooting Touch) for suggesting the name “Ahead of the Game” for this funding call.