Mind Matters Grantmaking Programme


Waiting lists for mental health services in Northern Ireland have increased significantly over the past four years, according to information provided by the Department of Health. There were 2,394 patients waiting more than nine weeks for access to adult mental health services in December 2022, compared to 1,579 back in December 2018.

The detrimental effects of waiting times, uncertainty and a lack of support, are many: reduced functioning, prolonged emotional distress, exacerbation of existing symptoms and poorer outcomes with greater drop-out and disengagement across a range of domains. Some findings suggest higher rates of suicide, or suicide-related hospitalisations, emphasising the serious implications long waiting lists can have upon those with mental health issues.

Local mental health and suicide prevention services are already facing significant challenges due to a lack of resources and staff. The most recent Mental Health Strategy highlighted that services in NI are underfunded by 27% compared to England, with 25% greater needs, and receive 20% less funding compared to Ireland. The new budget proposed by the Secretary of State for NI will only accentuate these differences and make it more difficult for services to provide appropriate levels of support required.

Whilst it is apparent that long-term reform of the entire healthcare system is required, in the short term LFT recognises that local charitable organisations providing these services are struggling to cope with demand and the increase in referrals of people who are in current significant distress.

About Us

LFT Charitable Trust is a Belfast based family foundation offering small grants and support.

Our priority is to fund partner organisations which make a lasting difference to people’s lives; focus on reducing isolation, inequality and stigma; and inspire and empower individuals to realise their potential and share in the life of the whole community.

Objective of the Mind Matters Grantmaking Programme

The aim of this LFT Grant making Programme is to support charities temporarily increase their capacity to offer counselling and other psychological therapies and expedite care to adults on their waiting lists.

Application Process

Applications are welcomed from organisations that have the ability to increase capacity within a very short time frame and sustain this level of activity for the period of the grant (maximum 9 months) without adversely impacting their organisation.

Projects should recognise the main aim of this funding is to accelerate access to counselling and other psychological therapies for adults.

To apply, applicants should set out their project proposal (no longer than three A4 pages) referencing the following:

Applications for grants of up to £7,000 are invited. Only expenditure incurred for the purposes of the project and that can be directly attributed to the expected outputs/outcomes will be eligible.

As with all funders, it is likely that demand will exceed available funds and so this will be a competitive process.

The deadline for receipt of applications is 12 noon Friday 20 October 2023.

Applications should be made by email to aisling@lftcharitabletrust.com


LFT welcomes applications from prospective Grant Partners who meet the following criteria:-

  1. Registered charity
  2. Currently providing counselling or other psychological therapies to adults aged 18+ in Northern Ireland
  3. Must have the ability to commence additional delivery as proposed in application no later than 31 January 2024 and complete all delivery by 30 September 2024.
  4. Current or previous LFT Grant Partners need not apply, this fund is for the identification of new grant partners only.

Successful applicants will be required to demonstrate that counsellors/therapists engaged or employed on this initiative are registered with a professional regulating body such as BACP, UKCP or other professional standards authority for health and social care.

Reporting & Evaluation

LFT welcome the opportunity to visit the project during the delivery period and will seek an impact report from funded projects on completion of the project.

Enquiries at any stage of the application process are welcomed by the Secretariat. Grantmaking decisions are made by LFT Board of Trustees.