PLANS for a new £40,000 fund to improve services for people suffering with mental issues are set to be given the go ahead – with Westy Ham captain Mark Noble pledging thousands towards the proposals.

Basildon Council is set to agree the plans for a mental health fund at a meeting on Tuesday – and footballer Mr Noble has already pledged to put £10,000 into the funding pot.

If agreed the cash would be made available to voluntary and community sector organisations in the borough with the maximum grant available being £5,000.

Labour councillor Andrew Gordon, who is chairman of the Basildon Health and Wellbeing Partnership, and also previously experienced mental health issues said this is vital as so many go through similar experiences.

He said: “This is not a silver bullet to fix concerns or issues as mental health is very complex.

“We are always encouraged to look after our psychical health by taking exercise – so we must look after our mental health too.

“Anything we can do to try and help those people struggling with mental health has to be good thing – I know from my past experiences how overwhelming it can be.

“It’s very important people know there are groups and organisations to speak with and this will help that and support our sector which provides the services.

“To have a big name like Mark Noble on board is fantastic and it’s great to have him championing it but we all need to be doing this.”

In a report set to go before councillors on Tuesday, it states: “The fund is proposed to be a one-off funding pot that will allow the existing voluntary community service mental health providers operating within the borough to apply.

“It is a one-off opportunity as it is designed to provide funding to support the creation and delivery of projects, access to training and professional development, or improving organisational infrastructure to help ensure that our local providers and Community Hub partners are better equipped for the expected increase in demand of their services.

“Whilst these partners have already undertaken some exemplary work in this area with our residents, it is understood that the Covid-19 crisis has had a significant toll on the resources of these organisations.”