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Vince Cable announces successful partners delivering £20m adult skills project to help mental health

The SFA has notified 62 Community learning providers they will receive a contract to pilot adult education courses.

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Following a successful procurement process, the Skills Funding Agency has notified 62 Community learning providers they will receive a contract to pilot adult education courses to help adults recover from mild to moderate mental health problems.

Mental health problems are a major cost to the UK economy and can affect anyone at any time. Research by the Centre for Mental Health estimated the wider economic costs of mental health problems in England at £105bn per year in 2009/10. Mental Health Statistics have found that around a quarter of British adults experience a mental health problem in any one year.

The Community Learning mental health funding, administered by the SFA and announced in the Government’s 2014 Autumn Statement, committed £5m in 2015-2016 and £15m in 2016-2017 to help up to 80,000 learners as part of their recovery.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said:

Mental health is a serious issue that affects many individuals and families. I have personal experience of seeing the role community learning can play in helping people who experience mental health problems. Doing a course - whether it be learning to manage stress or learning a new craft - can not only improve wellbeing but can support recovery and help people get on track to work and reconnect with their families and communities.

These Community Learning Mental Health pilots will support thousands of people in their recovery. I am pleased to be able to announce the Community Learning providers who will be working across the country to roll out the pilot programme and wish them every success.

Peter Lauener Skills Funding Agency Chief Executive said:

The government’s funding commitment brings together various bodies across government and the sector, to ensure support is available to those with mental health problems. Funds committed by government will enable the development and delivery of courses to support adults aged 19+ and appropriate training for teachers, managers and volunteers. I look forward to seeing the evaluation of how projects have engaged, supported and provided help to those experiencing mental health problems in local communities.

Building on models of existing effective practice, providers awarded the funding across 6 areas, must develop their proposal in conjunction with their local mental health partners.

The contract will cover the period April 2015 to March 2016. Learners must complete their learning by 31 March 2016.

Published 27 March 2015