Peter Bedford Housing Association is calling for the support of the local community to win £25,000 funding towards a project to improve the lives of residents with mental ill health through ‘unlocking’ talent as part of the Aviva Community Fund 2016.

PBHA is competing for community votes to have a chance of winning funding of up to £25,000, which would support 45 people with mental ill health to discover and use their talents through a range of activity-based courses on woodwork, textiles, printmaking and illustration. Only projects with the most votes will become finalists, so support is vital.

Activities will be held at The Workshop, our social enterprise joinery and craft studio in Hoxton. Particularly talented people can access our Supporting Makers programme and will be able to exhibit and sell products in Outpost, our social enterprise shop in Islington where they will receive support from our staff there on shop display, pricing and promoting their work.

Throughout the project, we will host public exhibitions with partner organisation to raise awareness of mental ill health. This will help change attitudes, breaking down barriers and reducing stigma. All our activities will sit within our broader range of services including housing and employability support, which participants will be able to access.

Mental ill health is one of the key issues facing the people we work with. It has been estimated that mental health conditions are the single largest cause of ill health and disability in under 65s. Hackney has rates of severe mental illness three times the national average and Islington has the highest rates of depression in London. People with poor mental health frequently experience low self-esteem, poverty, discrimination, stigma, and often have difficulties accessing appropriate services.

The use of arts and the creative industries in therapy is also well established. However, diminishing social mobility in the arts has helped close off access to health promoting activities. Our project will help people raise their self-esteem, build new social networks and reduce isolation. By linking with our other employability services and social enterprises, it will also help people become more independent and resilient.

“As PBHA’s fundraiser, I am proud of our work to support socially excluded people, including those with poor mental health, to empower them to take control of their lives – work this project will build on through the activities we will provide, which beneficiaries will be involved in developing.” Roderick Cobley, Trusts & Grants Fundraiser, Peter Bedford Housing Association

To get behind Peter Bedford Housing Association and help make a difference in your local community, visit and submit your vote before 18 November 2016.