Tiny Changes to support mental health projects with new fund

Inspirational people and groups with exciting proposals to boost mental wellbeing for under-30s in the Scottish Borders could be awarded up to £5,000 to make their idea a reality

Youth mental health charity Tiny Changes is kickstarting is Make Tiny Changes fund, set to drive mental health support across the Scottish borders.

The charity, a Big Issue Changemaker, will give out grants of up to £5,000 to innovative ideas boosting the mental wellbeing of youngsters at a time when public services are struggling.

Tiny Changes was set up by the family of late Frightened Rabbit frontman and much-loved songwriter Scott Hutchison following his death in 2018.

Scott’s brother and founding trustee of the charity Grant Hutchison told The Big Issue last month that the Make Tiny Changes fund had been planned for launch earlier in the year – but the Covid-19 crisis meant the charity’s focus shifted to an emergency funding giving existing organisations much-needed financial support.

More than 23 charities benefited from the initiative, with a total £110,000 going to make sure effective help was getting to people as soon as they needed it during the crisis, including funding the purchase of tablets and internet access for young people to stay connected in lockdown.

Applicants to the Make Tiny Changes fund have until August 20 to submit a proposal that will support under-30s before selected groups will be invited to complete a full application online.

The Tiny Changes team is keen to invest in exciting new projects, frameworks and research that will make lasting change to the mental health of youngsters, with a focus on empowering people to help their own communities. A small group of young people will also be reviewing grant applications to ensure they have input on the ideas they think would be most beneficial to them.

Grant, Scott and older brother Neil grew up in Selkirk, so the programme will focus on the Scottish borders at first – the charity hoping to counter a tendency for rural areas to be overlooked by services. There are plans for the grant to be extended to the rest of the country in the future.

Founding trustees Neil and Marion Hutchison said: “We are so excited to launch the first Make Tiny Changes Fund small grant programme. We’ve wanted to do this for a while now, but like the rest of the world, we’ve had to put our plans on ice for a few months.

“The whole ethos of the charity is to make lots of small impacts, which add up to a big change in how children and young people in Scotland cope. We’ve decided to focus our first programme on a specific area of the country and our home county of the Scottish Borders seemed like a good place to start.

“We can’t wait to hear from the young people of the Borders and the mental health community with their thoughts and ideas of how we can help.”

Last month the charity kicked off the summer with Tiny Gigs, a live-streamed festival featuring Charlatans frontman and listening party host Tim Burgess, singer-songwriter Frank Turner, Carla J Easton, Cloth and The Coral founder Bill Ryder-Jones.