National Lottery funding to boost Grassroots Suicide Prevention’s digital capabilities

Grassroots Suicide Prevention based in Brighton is celebrating today (14th January 2020) after being awarded £400,764 in National Lottery funding to transform its digital capabilities. The new grant from the UK’s biggest funder of community activity will enable the ongoing development of the Stay Alive smartphone app, which offers help and support both to people with thoughts of suicide and those concerned about someone else. The app has had over 120,000 downloads since its launch in 2014, and research has shown its positive impact in helping to prevent suicide. To ensure the app continues to improve in response to the needs of users, Grassroots will be undertaking a 4-year plan of development and evaluation. The funding will increase the team’s capacity, bring additional digital expertise in-house, and a parallel independent evaluation of the app will test its efficacy and provide further scope for development and promotion.

Alex Harvey, Head of Development at Grassroots Suicide Prevention said: “This is a hugely exciting opportunity to take the Stay Alive app to the next level, so that it can help even more people to stay safe from suicide. With 4 years of funding we will be able to expand our team’s in-house expertise, and work in a truly progressive, responsive way – listening to users’ feedback, testing fresh approaches, staying open to the latest digital developments, and sharing our research with the sector. Ultimately, the aim is to make Stay Alive the most helpful, intuitive, comprehensive and well used resource available to people at risk of suicide and those who want to help them.”

John Knights, Senior Head of UK Portfolio at The National Lottery Community Fund, said: “In a digital society it’s important that charities and community organisations are not only able to adapt to be fit for the future, but can harness the power of digital to identify new opportunities to improve services to support more people. Now, thanks to National Lottery players, these organisations can increase their digital capacity to have a greater impact in communities and support our sector to thrive in the digital age.”

The Digital Fund was developed through a series of one-to-one interviews and workshops, with the aim to help organisations grow their digital capabilities, particularly around their operations and service delivery. It builds on The National Lottery Community Fund’s previous experience of supporting the voluntary sector’s digital transition, which extends back over a decade.

In addition to the grant, Grassroots will benefit from being part of an ecosystem of support set up for Digital Fund grantees, made up of Doteveryone, CAST, Shift, Snook, The Dot Project, and a network of coaches and mentors. This support will range from help with recruitment and Board level engagement through to responsible tech practices, service design and data audits.

Grantees will also collectively document and share learning between themselves and the wider sector – a key aim for The National lottery Community Fund when setting up the Digital Fund.

Today’s announcement is also a key part of The National Lottery Community Fund’s commitment to enabling civil society to be fit for the future – supporting organisations and the voluntary sector to create opportunities to help local communities thrive.

To find out more visit www.TNLCommunityFund.org.uk.

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More about the Stay Alive App