The Work and Health Unit (WHU), which is jointly managed by the Department for Work and Pensions and the Department of Health and Social Care, is providing a £4.2 million Challenge Fund to test new approaches that can help people experiencing mental health and/or musculoskeletal (MSK) issues stay in work.

WHU are looking to fund around twenty Initiatives which will improve their understanding of what works in one or more of the following areas:

  • Helping people stay in work by increasing their ability to self-manage their conditions.
  • Helping people access advice and support about what sort of work they might be capable of doing given their wider needs and circumstances.
  • Developing new approaches to help employers and individuals develop workplace solutions, or ways of working that facilitate greater participation of people experiencing these conditions.
  • Improving systems by joining up services to strengthen communication, liaison or joint action.

It is hoped that the evidence gathered through the Challenge Fund will enable the WHU to develop and deliver policies that enable people with mental health and/or MSK conditions to stay in work, or reduce the incidence and average durations of long-term sickness absence from work.

Minister for Mental Health and Inequalities Jackie Doyle-Price, said:

“For too long if you had a disability or serious mental health issue the world of work was off limits, potentially affecting the lives of millions of people across the country.

“This fund will help people overcome the barriers that so many still face when trying to get into and progress in the workplace.”

There is a total grant fund of £4.2m available. Applications must be for sums of at least £50,000.

Applications are invited from local/public authorities, the private sector (including employers and service providers) and third sector organisations.

Organisations can apply to carry out Initiatives in England, Scotland or Wales (or any combination of the three).

The deadline for applications is 17 August 2018.

Email: to find out how to apply.

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