Community partnership grant award for Wiltshire Mind in innovative GP referral trial

For many people living in Wiltshire, accessing mental health services can be frustrating, with lengthy waiting times. Self-referring to a local private therapeutic counselling service can mean a wait of up to 12 months.

Wiltshire Mind has recently been awarded a two-year Community Partnership Grant from NHS Charities Together and RUHX for an innovative pilot project aimed at providing a direct referral route from selected county GP surgeries to free counselling for adults and young people – reducing the waiting time and providing equity of access for those seeking support.

The pilot project will offer therapeutic counselling support to those who face anxiety, stress, mild depression, worry, low confidence, anger or grief. Between 12 and 24 sessions will be provided by an experienced counsellor.

The grant will cover the cost of the trial for two years, and Wiltshire Mind will work closely with 2 GP surgeries in the county to develop and test the trial. The project aims to reduce the burden on the local NHS, and improvement access to mental health services in our community. The trial is expected to start just before Christmas 2022.

Wiltshire Mind’s Head of Service Delivery, Philippa Collins commented.

“We are delighted to receive the grant from NHS Charities Together and RUHX. With funding agreed for two years, we can work in partnership with NHS Primary care to make a huge difference to those who need support with their mental health, particularly for those people experiencing low mood, anxiety, depression or grief for example”.

Wiltshire Mind is an independent charity and relies on the generosity of the community to help raise funds to pay for services. The charity has tried to secure funding in recent years to provide a sustainable future for the 300 people they support every year with their mental health.

CEO Paul Mills explained

“Since the pandemic, we have seen a substantial drop in our fundraising income, so investing in new services to meet the increasing demand for mental health support across our county has been challenging. This grant enables a joined-up approach between our charity and GP surgeries locally, designed for those seeking support“.

Wiltshire Mind will be approaching a small number of GP surgeries over the next few months to participate in the trial, which is expected to help between 30 and 40 people over the next two years. If the trial is successful, it is hoped that a full county-wide referral service will be rolled-out across the county in 2024-25, subject to further funding.

For more information contact Paul Mills, CEO, at

To find our more about Wiltshire Mind visit our website.