Mental Health UK works to deliver both national and local services that enable and empower people to understand and manage their mental health in a person-centred and empathetic way.

They have delivered services for over 50 years, and in order to keep doing so, diversifying their means of income is an essential part of the charity’s strategic planning.[1]

This case study looks at the importance of creating partnerships with the private sector, and the successes Mental Health UK has had in doing so.

Establishing a Partnerships Team

Many charities work with partners in the private sector. However, Mental Health UK has found that putting together a dedicated team in the most effective way is crucial to securing fruitful partnerships.

Katie Legg, Director of Strategy and Partnerships at Mental Health UK outlined the approach they take when proposing partnerships to prospective businesses.

Asking the organisation three key questions:

  • What is the world you want to see?
  • What is the difference you want to make?
  • What is your unique contribution?

These questions get to the core of pre-existing Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) plans and value statements.

They also allow each partnership to be unique, offering something different with every project.

The structure of the team is also important, with understood and agreed roles and responsibilities divided and dedicated to different team members.

At Mental Health UK, the team offers five core functions.

The five key roles within the partnerships team.[2]

To get the team operating as smoothly as possible, it is important to ensure each team member understands their role and the roles of others. Working harmoniously internally allows for professional and efficient processes when dealing with external partners.[2]

How Mental Health UK Incentivises Partners

Ensuring you are offering your partners value in a partnership is an important place to start when devising a funding plan.

Mental Health UK offer a variety of services that entice partners to select them as their charity, instead of relying solely on the good work they do as being enough.

Free Resources

  • Mental Health UK provide a range of resources from their website to help build mental health awareness in the workplace and start conversations about mental health.

Step by Step

  • Partners receive support to plan their own walking and talking Step by Step event, as part of their fundraising for Mental Health UK.
  • This initiative is a simple and effective way of carrying out great work as well as raising funds.
  • Partners pick a date, an achievable distance to walk, and begin fundraising. The emphasis is around walking as a team or with another person and encouraging people to open up on the walk.

Secured Places in Sporting Events

  • Partners receive access to places in sporting events including the London to Brighton cycle and Great Scottish Run.

Fundraising Support

  • Partnership teams at the charity are on hand to support all fundraising efforts.
  • They provide resources from donation buckets and tins to contactless card readers for the office.

Workplace Training

  • Mental Health UK provide training, information, and guidance on mental health in the workplace for staff, helping to build an open culture.

Mental Health Campaigns

  • Partners receive new resources to use for Mental Health Awareness Week and World Mental Health Day.
  • Mental Health UK will also help in the planning of partners’ internal campaigns.

Payroll Giving

  • Staff can easily sign up to give donations through their salary. Mental Health UK will support businesses in setting up payroll giving.

Real-life Impact

  • Mental Health UK provide personal stories and regular reports so that partners can see the impact their business is having on real people across the nation.[1]
  • To spread the word about their partnership offerings, Mental Health UK publish a monthly newsletter specifically aimed at potential partners.
  • It highlights the success stories from other projects and details the multiple ways businesses can get involved.

Mental Health UK’s Successful Partnerships

Mental Health UK has a wide range of partners, including Pizza Hut, iwoca, Johnson & Johnson, and Barr Soft Drinks.

They also have strong partnerships with Aldi, ISG, and Lloyds Banking Group.[2]


Throughout their two-year partnership, Mental Health UK is creating a range of practical tools and guides to help support Aldi’s 33,000 colleagues, and their families, look after their mental health.

The partnership complements Aldi’s existing Wellness Programme, which includes counselling, wellness coaching, financial wellbeing support, an online wellbeing platform and a 24/7 confidential helpline provided by the retailTRUST.

This partnership was launched during Mental Health Awareness Week 2020. The announcement focused on the need to protect colleague mental health throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond.[3]

It has never been more important to protect our mental health and support others as we navigate these uncertain times. Our partnership will help us to do even more to tackle the stigma that still exists with mental health, and to bring even more support and guidance to our amazing colleagues across our stores, distribution network and head offices.

Sophie Smith, HR Director, Aldi.


ISG chose to support Mental Health UK as their charity partner until 2021.

One of their key corporate goals is to drive revolutionary change within their industry; promoting mental health awareness as part of the partnership will help achieve that.

ISG is working hard to redefine what health and safety means for their employees and supply chain. This means not only supporting their physical health and safety but providing staff with the tools to create mentally healthy workplaces.

With the help of Mental Health UK, ISG aims to lead the way for the construction industry, influencing mandatory health and safety training and regulation to incorporate holistic wellbeing. Over the next three years, ISG in the UK will be giving something back, raising awareness as well as much-needed funds.[4]

Lloyds Banking Group

Mental Health UK and Lloyds Banking Group formed their partnership in 2016.

They are working together to support thousands of people across the country with their mental health, championing Lloyds’ strategy, ‘Helping Britain Prosper’.

Some of their top achievements include:

  • Raising £13 million to date
  • Gaining £5 million for clients from the Mental Health and Money Advice Service
  • Logging 14,000 volunteering hours during 2017-18
  • Opening 40 new support groups
  • Distributing 700,000 mental health information guides[5]

Mental Health UK are dedicated to continuing their support and growing their existing services, with partnerships making up a great alternative revenue stream to compliment traditional fundraising.

[1] 2021. Partnerships: Working with us.

[2]Legg, Katie. 2021. Director of Strategy and Partnerships, Mental Health UK. Creating Effective Private Sector Partnerships to Diversify Income Streams.

[3] 2021. Partners: Aldi.

[4] 2021. Partners: ISG.

[5] 2021. Partners: Lloyds Banking Group.

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Charities lost roughly £5 billion in funding during the Covid-19 pandemic. Diversifying their income streams away from reliance on traditional donations is vital in their survival. Strong private sector partnerships have helped Mental Health UK thrive in challenging times.

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