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Kaleidoscope Plus Group receives funding boost to support mental health and wellbeing in Sandwell | Sandwell Council

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Kaleidoscope Plus Group receives funding boost to support mental health and wellbeing in Sandwell

Published 1st March 2023

Refugees and asylum seekers of all ages residing in Sandwell will benefit from a specially designed wellbeing programme following a funding grant of £59,000.

The grant of £59,000 courtesy of Sandwell Council public health team, forms part of the Stronger Sandwell initiative that looks to build on Sandwell’s strengths, focussing on the ethos that nobody is left behind.

The West Bromwich-based charity, the Kaleidoscope Plus Group helps thousands of people across the UK each year and offers a range of services for people in need, struggling with their emotional health and wellbeing.

The wellbeing programme which will see the Kaleidoscope Plus Group work together with Sandwell Council in supporting the emotional health and wellbeing needs of refugees and asylum seekers residing in Sandwell.

The community-based interventions will be trauma-informed and seek to improve the emotional health and wellbeing of the recipients. They will work to improve social wellbeing, sense of being connected, and reduce the stigma around mental health and seeking support.

The wellbeing programme will consist of a tailored portfolio of wellbeing groups providing a needs-based service. From befriending services, mindfulness, psychotherapy and ecotherapy the programme focuses on actions to help an individual’s wellbeing.

Councillor Suzanne Hartwell, Cabinet Member for Adults, Health and Social Care, said:

“We are delighted to be working together with the team at Kaleidoscope Plus Group to provide vital support to those who are new to residing in Sandwell.”

Kathryn Hickman, Vulnerable Children and Young People Project Manager at Sandwell Council added:

“Many of the people we aim to support have lived through dreadful experiences and faced devastating losses. Many have lost their homes, their livelihoods and their communities and been separated from their loved ones. By working together with the team at Kaleidoscope Plus Group we hope to build on the strength of Sandwell, which is our community, ensuring no one is left behind.”

As a member of the Sandwell migrant health partnership Kaleidoscope Plus Group aim to deliver 208 wellbeing groups and recruit 10 volunteer befrienders from the local community to support 40 individuals/families over the next twelve months.

Research suggests that asylum seekers are five times more likely to have mental health needs than the general population, and more than 61% will experience severe mental distress. However, data suggests that they are less likely to receive support than the general population.

Monica Shafaq, Chief Executive of the Kaleidoscope Plus Group said:

“Asylum seekers and refugees face unique and complex challenges related to their mental health. They are often at greater risk of developing mental health problems following their lived experiences.

“To be given the necessary funding to help support this vulnerable community will continue to help us provide vital mental health support and help reduce the stigma that surrounds seeking support.

“The funding will allow our team to provide specialist mental health support to asylum seekers and refugees to help them rebuild their lives, through a variety of skills. Our experienced and highly talented team will apply a range of evidence-based best practices to help them achieve this.

“We hope to have a long-lasting impact following the support we provide, empowering individuals to even support others in the future.”