What is the Bedfordshire Mental Health Alliance?

The Bedfordshire Mental Health Alliance (Beds MHA) is a new partnership of local organisations from the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector (VCSE)1. It aims to make mental health support easier to access, more effective and better suited to the needs of local people in the boroughs of Bedford and Central Bedfordshire.  

Central Beds Bedford Borough maps (6)
Central Beds Bedford Borough maps (9)
Central Beds Bedford Borough maps (4)

We know that our sector, including small grassroots groups, can reach and help people who may not come forward for formal support from the NHS or local authority. The VCSE is driven by a desire to improve the lives of people in our different communities of interest. We think creatively, have a tradition of working collaboratively and are not afraid to speak up for better services. Our support comes in all shapes and sizes and includes people with lived experience of mental health services. 

Any local group or organisation that engages with and supports local people is encouraged to join the Alliance. You don’t have to be a mental health related service or activity but you will be interested in improving the mental health and wellbeing of those in our communities.

What will the Beds MHA do?

The Beds MHA will bring together the VCSE sector to  

  • Recognise the VCSE sector as vital partners with statutory providers in designing and delivering mental health support in Bedfordshire 
  • Have a stronger, collective voice to express the views and needs of communities, especially those who experience the greatest health inequalities
  • Build relationships with statutory health and care service providers to improve ways of delivering accessible services
  • Channel the expertise of the VCSE sector into local decision making of statutory health and care providers
  • Collaborate with each other, sharing updates and resources 

The Beds MHA is in its infancy and the details of how it will work will be co-produced by its members. You will have a chance to shape how the Beds MHA develops 

How does the Beds MHA fit in?

The Beds MHA is just one part of a larger change in mental health service provision across Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes. 

In 2019 the NHS published the Long Term Plan,2 which introduced additional funding and new standards for healthcare across the UK. A key part of this programme is the planned introduction of a new Integrated Care System (ICS) for every local area across the country. 

The Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Health and Care Partnership has a strategy for developing integrated mental health services, recognising the role of the VCSE in shaping and delivering some of these services. 

Separate MHAs are in place for Milton Keynes and for Luton. The Beds MHA is funded by the Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Health and Care Partnership.