Projekt 42, a charity aiming to tackle poor mental health in Edinburgh, has secured £44,000 funding to transform its vision of opening a community gym and wellness centre into a reality.

Building on the success of its pilot programme in Leith, which saw over 400 members benefit from enhanced wellbeing, the social enterprise aims to open its larger, tailor-made, centre on Halmyre Street in 2018.

With two in three people in the UK experiencing a mental health problem at some point in their lives, the social enterprise will focus on improving the mental wellbeing of those in the local community through a range of services; from fitness classes, to mindfulness activities, life coaching, nutrition workshops, yoga, counselling, and more.

Five organisations in total awarded the community initiative the funds, which will assist the charity to move forward with its expansion plans. Support was received from FirstPort to the value of £25,000, as well as grants worth £13,500 from the Robertson Trust; £2,500 from St. James Place; Foundation Scotland presenting £2,000 and £1,000 by the Pleasance Trust.

Earlier this autumn, Projekt 42 lodged a planning application for the new wellness centre with Edinburgh Council, following pro bono support from Edinburgh based property developers Buccleuch Property, who have brought together a task force of local building experts, engineers and architects, to provide advice and assistance on the project, free of charge.

Building on this momentum, Projekt 42 has also been shortlisted in the ‘One to Watch’ category at the Social Enterprise Awards, with founder Sara Hawkins shortlisted for the Great British Entrepreneur ‘Entrepreneur for Good’ award.

Commenting on the funding, Sara said: “When I started Projekt 42, I did so with the aim of creating a revolutionary centre where the local community could come together and work on strengthening their mental health through physical activities.

“It is thanks to funding from organisations such as FirstPort, Robertson Trust, St. James Place, Foundation Scotland and Pleasance Trust, as well as the support from businesses such as Buccleuch Property, that we are able to do this.

“The idea for Projekt 42 came as a result of my personal experience with poor mental wellbeing, and it is incredibly rewarding to see the positive impact our pilot programme has had on those who have used our services already. It inspires me each and every day, and I’m looking forward to the next chapter in our growth.”

David Peck, Managing Director of Buccleuch Property, added: “Since we began working with Sara and the team at Projekt 42, I have been moved by her drive and determination to help those experiencing poor mental health across Edinburgh. This funding will not only allow plans for the new centre to progress further, but it is also a step towards securing its long-term future.”

Sara Hawkins, Project 42 Sara Hawkins, Project 42