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Personalised Health Budgets

Over the course of 2019, Quench Arts has been exploring how we can become a provider of creative music activities which can be offered to those eligible for Personalised Health Budgets. As we have a vast experience of working within the mental health sector, we feel that our team can offer a range of provision that will aid recover and build resilience.

To start the process, we contacted the member of staff responsible for Personalised Health Budgets (PHBs) within Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust (BSMHFT). We have a longstanding partnership with this trust as we have worked together for many years through our Musical Connections project for vulnerable and isolated adults, which has proven itself in achieving health and wellbeing outcomes. As luck would have it, the person responsible for PHBs was well aware of our work and had previously signposted to our provision, so this was a fantastic start! We didn’t need to convince her of the value of our work and why music is an important tool to affect positive change as she had seen it first hand! This was crucial.

So who is eligible for PHBs?

BSMHFT were one of the first mental health trusts in the country to trial PHBs. Historically, this funding has only been available to those with physical disabilities or sensory impairments, so it’s a mammoth task to set up the processes needed to be able to deal with this in an already stretched NHS. How BSMHFT have approached it is by having an Occupational Therapist within the trust as the lead contact, but they have also contracted out some of the work to The Rowan Organisation to help support the implementation and administration of the scheme, rolling it our gradually in different areas of Birmingham.

Currently, the only mental health service users who are eligible for PHBs are those who are entitled to Section 117 aftercare and any application is assessed and approved by commissioners on an individual basis. The whole process can take a number of months, from application to outcome.

What is section 117 aftercare?

(Information taken from

Some people who have been kept in hospital under the Mental Health Act can get free help and support after they leave hospital. The law that gives this right is section 117 of the Mental Health Act, and it is often referred to as 'section 117 aftercare' .

Aftercare is the help you will get in the communi

ty after you leave hospital. This can cover all kinds of things like healthcare, social care and supported accommodation.

Section 117 of the Mental Health Act says that aftercare services are services which are intended to:

  • meet a need that arises from or relates to your mental health problem, and

  • reduce the risk of your mental condition getting worse, and you having to go back to hospital

Sometimes, the entitlement to this funding can last many years after a patient is discharged from hospital and thus it can be a useful way for people to keep well and build their skills and resilience. It is BSMHFT’s hope and expectation that, in the future, the criteria for eligibility for Personalised Health Budgets (PHBs) will be widened so that more people can benefit from more personalised provision.

Through liaising with BSMHFT over the past year we put together a suite of provision that we can offer to people eligible for PHBs, including bespoke one to one sessions with add-odd options of group activities, and we are now in a position to be taking referrals. This is an exciting development for Quench Arts as PHBs may potentially become a self-sustaining aspect of our work, where we can offer fully funded provision to some of the most vulnerable and isolated people across Birmingham and Solihull without having the constant battle to obtain and sustain funding for longstanding successful projects through charitable trusts and foundations.

Our hopes for the future are to be able to increase our capacity through training more music leaders to become experienced in delivering our wellbeing programmes as we would like to explore other sectors who are eligible for PHBs (such as those with physical disabilities) and also increase this offer across more of the West Midlands.

For more information about Quench Arts’ Personalised Heath Budget offer, see

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