Solihull Council awarded £436k funding to tackle poor mental health, via new Commonwealth Active Communities Fund


As a response to the Sport England Commonwealth Active Communities fund, Solihull Council has been awarded £436k which, with the work of multiple partner organisations, will aim to create a better link between sport, physical activity and mental health, to make a real difference to the physical and mental health of borough residents.

Solihull Council are committed to working more closely across sectors to improve the connectedness of services. Therefore, the programme, that will be developed by organisations across public, voluntary, community and health care sectors, aims to create improved links between mental health, sport and physical activity services, using the inspiration created by next month’s Commonwealth Games.

The major new initiative will see a combined approach in which multiple organisations will aim to help local residents understand how they can access physical activity, to improve their own health and happiness.

Several key organisations, specialising in mental health action and advice, including Living Well, Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust, Colebridge Trust and Think Active, have helped to create this programme and have made large contributions that helped with the success of this grant award. The council are excited to be a part of this connected approach and looking forward to continue working with these organisations to support the mental and physical health of residents.  

This new programme will make a key contribution to the new ‘Solihull on the Move’ framework, a range of programmes to encourage residents to move more, more often.

Being physically active is proven to improve both your physical and mental health. If you are interested in finding out what activities are available near you please visit

The key local support groups involved in the programme, Think Active, Colebridge Trust, Living Well and Birmingham & Solihull Integrated Care System said: “The programme will target people who previously may not have considered getting involved in physical activities, or perhaps felt isolated and didn’t have the confidence to take part. We are reaching out specifically to residents of Solihull who have recently, or are currently experiencing, mental health challenges. Residents should look out for further announcements soon. Taking up a physical activity is scientifically proven to contribute to improvements in mental health conditions. We look forward to working in partnership with Solihull Council to help deliver this extremely important programme.”    

Cllr Karen Grinsell, Deputy Leader of Solihull Council and Lead Member for Partnerships and Wellbeing, said: “The pandemic has served to increase anxieties and potential mental health issues for many people. This programme aims to harness the amazing positivity and improvement that any physical activity or sport can bring to an individual’s mental health, using the inspiration of the Commonwealth Games. There is a direct link between exercise and improved mental health, and the programme will seek to build awareness and provide activities to suit all abilities and ages. Our key local groups will provide an important role in helping the council deliver this important and potentially life-changing initiative.”


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Notes to editors

What is Solihull Commonwealth Active Communities?

The programme is a response to the Sport England Commonwealth Active Communities Fund. Solihull Council has been awarded £436,732 to deliver a ‘Community wellness programme that is seeking to use the inspiration of the Commonwealth Games to help people with poorer mental health to be more active through an integrated mental health and physical activity pathway.

A Wellness & Physical Activity campaign, with focus on Mental Health, to link into national and other local campaigns, for instance, the Public Health England mental health campaign being planned around the Commonwealth Games. Regular and ongoing engagement will be undertaken by the council, of those with poorer Mental Health and wider engagement on wellness with the community

Furthermore, skills and knowledge development across the system be that Mental Health first aid training for those working in the physical activity sector or physical activity training for those working in mental health to ensure the appropriate level of understanding of key staff involved in the programme.

The Commonwealth Active Communities programme is a key component of Sport England’s legacy plan. Sport England wanted to focus resource on:

• Localities in the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) area with significant health inequalities and where impact through helping people to move from inactive to physically active can be greatest.

• Where there is a genuine appetite to use the power and opportunity of the Games to inspire local communities to engage with physical activity

• Where listening to communities and responding to their priorities, motivations and aspirations, placing the community voice at the heart of decision making, empowering and connecting communities, and in so doing creating sustainable change.