The King's Fund launches challenging programme to meet health needs of London

The King's Fund has issued three challenges to statutory, voluntary and community groups in London to develop and improve services in areas in which health needs remain unmet.

The challenges mark the launch of a new scheme, Partners for Health in London, that will invest £1.2 million a year in funding activities and make The King's Fund a more active partner with the organisations it supports.

The three areas and their challenges are:

  • Developing mental health advocacy: to develop and deliver services that aim to establish how effective mental health advocacy may be in different circumstances.
  • Promoting better sexual health: to make the development and the delivery of sexual health services more responsive to defined minority ethnic communities.
  • Improving end of life care: to deliver projects that will improve the quality of life for dependent adults and their carers facing the impact of end of life.

The King's Fund chief executive Niall Dickson said:

'Partners for Health in London is an exciting new programme - one that should make a real difference to individuals, families and communities and to the organisations working for them.

'Our former systems for giving small and development grants turned down more than 90 per cent of applications. That was expensive to administer and not hugely encouraging for the organisations that applied.

'This programme will allow us to make the most of our charitable pounds - but we don't just want to be a distant source of money. We want a dynamic relationship with our new partners, to help them develop their own ways of working, to find out what works and why and to spread that learning more widely.'

Partners for Health in London awards will range from a minimum of £5,000 to a maximum of £150,000 for up to three years (statutory organisations will be expected to supply match funding). The first round of applications will be accepted this autumn, and the first grants should be made next spring.

Steve Dewar, head of the new programme, said:

'Our new approach means that we will work more closely with those organisations across London that hold the key to improving people's health.

'Together, we can provide new services, assess effectiveness and ensure the lessons learned are applied across the country.'

He added: 'Our mental health challenge is a real opportunity to ensure the voice of the mental health service user is heard, while enabling us to find out what works and to inform the development of effective models of practice for the future.

'Our sexual health challenge will both support London's diverse communities in working with the statutory sector and establish a better understanding of how to promote sexual health among them.

'Our end of life challenge is a real chance to address patchy access to care to end of life care for dependent adults. Now is the time to widen the scope of existing care and find new ways of meeting the needs of the most vulnerable at times of greatest need.'

Notes to editors: 

1. For more details about this press release, contact the King's Fund media and public relations office on 020 7307 2585, or 07831 554927.

2. For more information about Partners for Health in London, including the process of making an application, please visit the King's Fund website at www.kingsfund.org.uk, or contact a member of the funding and development team on 0207 307 2466.

3. The King's Fund is an independent charitable foundation working for better health, especially in London. We carry out research, policy analysis and development activities, working on our own, in partnerships, and through funding. We are a major resource to people working in health, offering leadership development programmes; seminars and workshops; publications; information and library services; and conference and meeting facilities.

4. Partners for Health in London replaces the King's Fund's small and development grants programmes. It will target areas in which health needs remain unmet in the capital and make the King’s Fund a more active partner with the organisations it funds.

5. In the first instance, applications for awards are being sought in three areas: improving end of life care; promoting better sexual health; and developing advocacy services for people with mental health problems.

6. Awards will range from a minimum of £5,000 to a maximum of £150,000 for up to three years (statutory bodies will be expected to find match funding). The first call for applications will be made this autumn and the King's Fund expects to start working with the first cohort of partners in January 2006.

7. A fourth strand of work, developing the role of complementary therapies as part of wider health improvement, will be launched this autumn, and is expected to focus on research.