Fife Employment Access Trust- Heading for Success

Heading for success: Fife charity wins national award for mental health services


The Fife charity celebrates its twenty-fifth anniversary with the highest recognition from leading think tank

Twenty-five years after its foundation, the Fife Employment Access Trust (FEAT) has won a Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) Award for its work supporting those with mental health problems to find employment.

The prize, presented on Tuesday evening at a prestigious venue in Central London, includes a £10,000 grant and promotion of the organisation’s vital work before an audience of influential politicians, journalists and philanthropists.

According to the Scottish Government, around one in three people are estimated to be affected by mental illness in any one year. Many of these struggle to find or maintain stable employment.

FEAT was set up in 1994 by a small group of people concerned about the lack of employment opportunities for people in Fife who had experience of mental health problems. Some of this group had personal experience of mental ill health, and were all too aware of the problems of finding a job and the stigma that prevailed. Today, they have twenty-five years of experience directly supporting people with mental health problems to find and sustain work and have expanded their range of services greatly.

 They run a range of programmes to help those in need.

Employ your Mind, a project run in partnership between FEAT and Fife Health & Social Care Mental Health Services, aims to assist people who have a severe and enduring condition and who have experienced long-term psychiatric care. It has attracted international interest.

FEAT also delivers the Fife Individual Placement & Support Service (IPS), an evidenced-based model of supported employment for people with severe mental health issues. They recently reached “exemplary” standard following an external assessment against the recognised IPS fidelity scale. They are now the highest-ranked IPS Service in Scotland.

They are moving ahead with plans to take over Silverburn Park in Leven from the local authority, with a view to creating a centre for health and wellbeing and ultimately commercial activities to reinvest in the charity.

Duncan Mitchell, General Manager of FEAT, said: “Day in, day out we get to work with people experiencing severe disadvantages in life due to their mental health and help them to unlock their ability and talent to overcome their daily challenges in life. It is an honour to help them on their journeys.” “Winning this award is an enormous boost to everyone associated with FEAT, particularly to the staff and volunteers who constantly go far beyond the call of duty to achieve life-changing outcomes for the people who inspire us every day.”

“This year we are celebrating our twenty-fifth anniversary and what a way to mark it. We hope this award will lead on to even bigger and better things for us and the amazing people we serve.”

Andy Cook, Chief Executive of the Centre for Social Justice think tank, said:

“FEAT innovates new techniques and approaches to solving some of the most pressing issues in the field of mental health. Among these, the inability to find and maintain regular work is paramount.

“The dignity of work and the confidence it instils are crucial to solving mental health problems. The CSJ recognises FEAT’s innovation, efficiency and compassion in helping people find work and rebuild their lives. We wish them another twenty-five years of stellar achievement.”

 About the CSJ Awards

The Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) exists to prevent and tackle poverty across Britain. The CSJ Awards is an annual, high profile award ceremony that honours the best grassroot, poverty-fighting charities and social enterprises from across Britain.

There are five categories for which prizes are awarded: addiction support and recovery, family support, work and employment, education and social mobility, and crime prevention and rehabilitation.

The five winners each receive a £10,000 grant and are profiled in front of hundreds of leading figures from across the country. This enables them to scale their impact and gives senior politicians, philanthropists and business and charity leaders the chance to be inspired by and learn from them.

It gives award winners unique opportunities to connect with other people passionate about furthering the cause of social justice in Britain.