The Cellar Trust wins top UK health award

Shipley-based charity The Cellar Trust has won a major national award for its work supporting people across Bradford District and Craven, and the surrounding areas who are struggling with their mental health to live well and independently in the community.

Following a rigorous selection and assessment process, The Cellar Trust was chosen from more than 400 charities across the UK as one of the 10 winners of the 2023 GSK IMPACT Awards which are delivered in partnership with leading health and care charity The King’s Fund. Now in their 26th year, the awards are a mark of excellence in the charity sector, designed to recognise the outstanding work of small and medium sized charities working to improve people’s health and wellbeing in the UK. This year winners will receive £40,000 in unrestricted funding as well as expert support and leadership development provided by The King’s Fund.

Bradford is one of the 20% most deprived local authorities in England, with issues such as poverty, unemployment and poor housing, all of which can lead to poor mental health. Bradford has amongst the highest levels of severe and common mental health problems nationally and the proportion of people sectioned under the Mental Health Act is twice the national average.

The Cellar Trust (TCT) was established in the mid-1980s following the closure of the mental health hospitals to support people with long term mental health problems to engage in meaningful activity. The charity has since expanded to deliver crisis support and other services across Bradford and the surrounding areas of Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven. It now works in close partnership with local health services and other voluntary organisations. Last year it supported around 7500 people through its services.

TCT has teamed up with other local charities including Mind in Bradford, to run Safe Spaces, a service to support people in emotional distress who may also be self-harming or having suicidal thoughts via same day one to one support to help deescalate the crisis. Support is offered in-person or by phone, with support workers based in Bradford and Keighley and crisis drop in cafes (hosted by other charity partners) in eight locations across the district. In the year ending March 2022 the service delivered 10,983 sessions of support to 1,749 people.

TCT’s Pathways to Employment service provides support to those with severe or enduring mental health problems to help them move towards or into paid employment, and the charity also offers training to employers on how to support people returning to work.

The Award judges were particularly struck by the charity’s pioneering approach to embedding ‘peer support’ across its work. The majority of TCT’s services are delivered by people who have experienced mental health issues and who are able to share their own knowledge and practical advice to help others. The charity has developed its own accredited training in the use of peer support and its model has been recognised by NHS England as best practice for working in mental health.

The award win comes at a time when many charities find themselves working in a uniquely challenging environment. The long-term consequences of Covid and the current cost of living crisis are having a significant impact on the health and wellbeing of many communities, public services are under additional pressure, and charity finances have been hit hard. Despite this, The Cellar Trust has continued to innovate and expand its services.

Working in partnership with three other local charities – Project 6, HALE and Carers Resource – TCT is part of the Multi Agency Support Team (MAST). The team works with two local NHS hospitals to provide a range of support on mental health, alcohol misuse, social prescribing and frailty. The team works in A&Es and across the wards at Bradford Royal Infirmary and Airedale General Hospitals and also provides follow up support for people in the community. Last year, the MAST team supported 2,662 people across the two hospitals. After three months, only 14% of people reported they had re-presented at A&E.

Lisa Weaks, Senior Associate at The King’s Fund, said: “The Cellar Trust has grown quickly to develop a wide range of services supporting people with persistent or severe mental health issues in an area where people are experiencing many challenges. In the process it has created a sector-leading model of peer support and has influenced improvements in local and national mental health services. Its one team approach to working with a variety of voluntary sector partners has enabled the charity to help reduce demand on local health services and led to significant improvements in people’s mental wellbeing.”

Commenting on the award, Kim Shutler, CEO of The Cellar Trust, said: “We are delighted to win this prestigious national award. The Cellar Trust came from humble beginnings starting in a cellar in Bradford and although we have grown and developed over the years, we remain incredibly committed to our local area. It has, and continues to be a very challenging time for charities, and we are incredibly grateful to the team, partners and our supporters who help us carry on the vital work we deliver in the community.”

One of the key aims of the GSK IMPACT Awards programme is to develop leaders in the charity sector and all winners are invited to build on their success and take part in a tailored leadership development programme run by The King’s Fund.

Impact Report 2021-22

Impact Report

December 2022

The Cellar Trust has released its annual Impact Report 2021-22 detailing how the organisation helped those that needed mental health support. The range of client needs that we support is wide and varied, therefore, so are our services.

View the Impact Report here


We supported 7,798 people in 2021-22 to address the challenges they faced with their mental health, through one of more of our services.

We are a 100+ strong team now and our aim is simple. We are working towards a future where good mental health and wellbeing is prevalent across the Bradford District and beyond.

Haven funding came to an end in June 2022, but we were successful in our joint bid for the Safe Spaces contract with Mind in Bradford, which builds upon our strengths and successes and works with partner organisations to deliver support across our communities.

Our Pathways to Employment service met an increased demand from people furthest from the job market, with severe or enduring mental health problems and regular periods of crisis. These clients typically experience multiple barriers to work.

January 2022 saw the launch of HOPE. Delivering one-to-one peer support in 6 or 12 week blocks, for clients who frequently attend urgent care services or have a history of trauma. “The support has been invaluable and genuine, I feel like I finally have some fight back within myself.”

As well as our staff, we trained 210 people to be peer support workers through our OCN Level 3 accredited Peer Support training. We further developed our offering and now deliver Peer Support supervision on an external, consultancy basis.

Kim Shutler, CEO at the Cellar Trust, said: “It has been another busy and challenging year for The Cellar Trust. Of course, even as I write, we know that Covid has not gone away. We face ongoing and new pressures, both for the organisation and the people we serve, in the external environment including the cost-of-living crisis. It has impacted on all of us in different ways… all in the same storm, not all in the same boat.

This has meant that we have had to navigate returning to a new version of ‘business as usual’, with the difficulties and benefits of hybrid working, increased demand on our services at the same time as implementing some big changes and fabulous new provisions. It also means that we move ahead, after a very tiring two years into a period which will continue to test our resilience. I say though, with great pride, that our team are exceptional when it comes to weathering the storm and we move into the coming months as a strong organisation with a brilliant values-driven culture. These things make all the difference in challenging times.”

Our CEO Kim Shutler was identified as a Charity Times Top 20 Pandemic Pioneer and awarded an MBE for Services to Mental Health in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours 2021.

The Cellar Trust won the Locality Transforming Lives Award in 2021 for our response to COVID.

As an organisation we believe strongly that we can sustainably impact on the mental health of people in our communities both through direct service delivery, and through using our experience to influence wider service design, policy and strategy.


View the Impact Report here

Safe Spaces partners with West Yorkshire Police

Safe Spaces partners with West Yorkshire Police

West Yorkshire Police can now refer Bradford residents to Safe Spaces for urgent support

West Yorkshire Police who are called to help people in mental distress in the Bradford District area, can now refer people to Safe Spaces.

Anyone aged seven and over living in Bradford District and Craven who is experiencing mental health distress can access Safe Spaces (individuals don’t need to go through West Yorkshire Police). To access this service, call First Response on 0800 952 1181 (24 hour helpline) and ask for ‘Safe Spaces’.

As part of the Safe Spaces service offer there are local hubs and drop-ins, and an overnight service for children and young people, which replaced Sanctuary and Haven and the existing overnight children’s space. Support provided at Safe Spaces is calm, non-clinical and staffed by crisis support workers from noon to 2.30am every day.

The Cellar Trust and Mind in Bradford, commissioned by Bradford District Health and Care Partnership to deliver Safe Spaces, are working together to deliver Safe Spaces. Both organisations have been working alongside PC Jodie Duane, West Yorkshire Police Mental Health Engagement Officer for the Bradford District, to create a police referral pathway that is quick to access.

Heather Butcher, Safe Spaces Programme Director, Mind in Bradford, said: “Our work with colleagues at West Yorkshire Police means that they can now bring people directly to our Safe Spaces in Bradford or Keighley. The hope with this work is that people within the Bradford District and Craven will be able to access a calm space and will get quicker and more appropriate support when they are struggling.’’

PC Jodie Duane, West Yorkshire Police, said: “Police officers are getting reports of people in mental health crisis on a daily basis. We want to provide the best service possible when a person is at their lowest. This referral pathway gives frontline officers an opportunity to seek immediate support for that person, which has not been an option before.”

Iain MacBeath, Strategic Director for Health and Wellbeing at Bradford Council and Director of Integration for Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust, said: “It’s fantastic to see how West Yorkshire Police can now make referrals to Safe Spaces, this means the individual will get the support they require within their community rather than a hospital setting. Safe Spaces is there for individuals who are in distress, this includes severe anxiety and/or panic attacks, suicidal thoughts, or intense depression.”

Inspector Osman Khan from the Stronger Communities Team has described the initiative as ground-breaking. “This partnership approach will be highly effective in addressing complex issues and will help build stronger relationships between organisations and individuals, leading to better outcomes for all involved.”