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Donate now! Support children and young people's mental health through the Richmond Voluntary Fund

9 February 2022

Children’s and youth mental health and wellbeing remains a local priority, as the Richmond upon Thames Voluntary Fund launches its third annual appeal to support local charities working with children and young people, and their support networks. 

Mental health continues to be a huge challenge for children and young people, with the number needing support increasing by 25% nationally since the start of the pandemic. Children and young people’s lives are becoming increasingly complex, with some needing specialist support to help them overcome these challenges and thrive.

This year the Fund's trustees have chosen four charities that work with young people and their support networks on a range of issues that affect overall wellbeing.  

As well as continuing to support direct mental health provision, the chosen charities will also target some of the underlying issues that can lead to poor mental health, whether that is pressures from having additional needs or caring responsibilities or engaging in risky behaviours as a coping mechanism. There is also wider support planned for parents and carers dealing with a child or young person struggling with their mental health. 

This year's appeal is launching during Children’s Mental Health Week (7 to 13 February), to mark the selected charity beneficiaries for 2022 – Richmond Carers Centre, Off The Record, ADHD Embrace and the Daniel Spargo-Mabbs Foundation.

Gillian Norton OBE DL, Chair of the Richmond Voluntary Fund, said:  

"Last year was another successful year for the fund, thanks to the generosity of our residents, raising over £100,000 for four charities. 

"Through their work, they have provided resilience training and support to more than 2,000 children in the borough across ten schools, provided opportunities for outdoor play and social reconnection for children with Special Educational Needs, supported young people with one-to-one and group 'nature prescriptions' and provided more than 2,500 sessions of counselling to young people in the borough – and this work is ongoing. 

"Over the past two years, the detrimental impact of the pandemic on our children and young people has been clear. School closures, a loss of social interactions and activities, have led to stress, isolation and loneliness. 

"But the pandemic also triggered a lot of other pressures, especially for those already vulnerable or with specific needs, and it has given space for risky behaviours to take hold. I am grateful that we have so many local organisations that are able to provide specialist support to tackle these kinds of challenges and I am delighted to be able to support them through the Fund."

Councillor Robin Brown, Trustee for the Richmond Voluntary Fund, said:

"Last week the Department for Education reported that the number of young people needing mental health support has grown by 25% since before the pandemic. The Council does everything it can to support local charities, through grants and other funding, and charities fundraise relentlessly to be able to support the work that they do, but the demand and the needs of our young people are too high. This is why the support we receive from the community, via the Richmond upon Thames Voluntary Fund, is absolutely vital and to date has gone a long way to help the charities upscale to meet this demand. 

"This is why we are asking for resident’s support again this year – we cannot do this alone. I know this is going to be tough financial year for everyone, but is more important than ever to ensure the support is in place for those who are more vulnerable to these external stressors.  

"Every little really can help. Whether it’s £15 to provide a young care-giver with an activity resource pack to help them stay active and connected, or £250 to provide a drug education workshop to students – everyone can make a difference and I thank them for their support."

For more information, or to donate, visit Richmond Voluntary Fund.

Notes to editors

About the Richmond upon Thames Voluntary Fund

The Richmond upon Thames Voluntary Fund (Registered Charity No. 1186870) is a charitable trust that has been set up to collect donations from residents for specific vulnerable groups, where there is a need for additional funding for help and support. 

The Fund is chaired by Gillian Norton OBE DL, former Chief Executive of Richmond Council. She is now the Chair of St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Chair of Epsom St Helier Hospitals Trust and Representative Deputy Lieutenant for Richmond upon Thames. Other Trustees include the Leader of Richmond Council (Cllr Gareth Roberts), and the Leaders of the opposition groups (Cllr Paul Hodgins and Cllr Richard Bennett). 

Residents living in Band G and H properties will be written to directly by the Council, asking them if they would like to make a voluntary donation to the Trust. All residents are invited to make a donation online

About the charities

Richmond Carers Centre is a registered charity (No.1092459) that works to ensure all unpaid carers in the London Borough of Richmond-upon-Thames are able to access tailored support that helps reduce stress and isolation while improving access to social opportunities, peer support and improving emotional wellbeing.   

Richmond Carers Centre provides practical help, advocacy, information and emotional support to young people caring for a family member who are dependent upon them because of physical disability, learning difficulty, mental health problems, age or illness. Extra funding will help Richmond Carers Centre provide a health and wellbeing programme for young carers aged between 5-18 years old, which will give them opportunities to take a break from their caring role, while also building resilience and coping skills to help manage the impact caring responsibilities have on them. This will include the delivery of mentoring programmes in primary and secondary schools as well as after school support groups and holiday activity programmes.

 In making a donation you could provide the following help and support to young carers: 

  • £15 could provide a young carer with an activity resource pack  
  • £250 could provide a respite activity in the school holidays for up to 10-12 young carers 
  • £500 could provide a bespoke weekly respite group for a group of young carers over a school term 

Off The Record is a registered charity (No. 1152097) that dramatically improves the lives of young people and their families and saves lives.  

Off The Record provides the only free drop-in counselling, information and sexual health service for young people aged 11–24 living, working or studying in the borough of Richmond. With additional funding they will be able to reach out to more young people using online counselling as well as one-to-one sessions once these can be safely accommodated.  Feedback from young people overwhelmingly shows that after counselling they have dramatically improved wellbeing; they feel less lonely or isolated and experience less anxiety or panic. 

In making a donation you could provide the following help and support to young people:  

  • £55 could provide a crisis counselling session for a young person in need 
  • £350 could provide 10 sessions for parents to help them support the young people in need in their care. 
  • £500 could provide a young person with a full counselling programme with an experienced counsellor  

ADHD Embrace is a registered charity (No. 1188759) supporting parents and professionals who live and work with children and teenagers with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).  ADHD Embrace provides a support community for parents, carers and professionals working with children and teenagers with ADHD, both pre and post diagnosis by providing knowledge, advice and practical support.  

Early intervention and support can change the direction of the lives of young people and ADHD Embrace provides the tools that enable that support and intervention from parents and professionals.  Therefore, the Charity’s key objective is to enable children and young people with ADHD to receive support at home and in education, that will allow them to become independent adults and reach their potential.

 In making a donation you can make a difference to the lives of local families:  

  • £50 could provide a parent a place on a positive parenting workshop  
  • £75 could provide a one-to-one advice clinic session for a parent or carer in need 
  • £125 could support a school visit and talk to staff about ADHD and the best ways to support pupils with ADHD 
  • £300 could provide a parent a place on a six-week behaviour management course  

Daniel Spargo-Mabbs Foundation is a registered charity (No. 1158921) focused on drug and alcohol education. It was set up by Tim and Fiona Spargo-Mabbs in response to the death of their 16-year-old son from an unintentional overdose, in order to prevent any other family having to experience the loss of a child, or harm of any sort, from substance use.The DSM Foundation aims to support young people to make safe choices and reduce harm, through increasing their understanding of the effects and risks of drugs and alcohol and improving their life skills and resilience.  

The Foundation provides drug education workshops and Theatre in Education play performances for young people in both state and private schools in Richmond upon Thames, as well workshops for parents, and training for professionals working in the borough. Additional funding will help the Foundation to maintain and expand the programmes of support for young people, schools, colleges and families in Richmond.  

In making a donation you could provide the following help and support to young people: 

  • £175 could provide a workshop via webinar to a group of parents/carers 
  • £250 could provide half-day drug education workshop to students  
  • £500 could develop and deliver a bespoke workshop suitable for one of the special schools 

If you are concerned about a young person's mental health, you can find out more information on how to get support by contacting the Single Point of Access team on 020 8547 5008, or if you need to speak to someone urgently after hours or at the weekend, call the Out of Hours team on 020 8770 5000 or contact via a webform.  More information can be found on Achieving for Children website.

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Up to: February 2022

Updated: 1 March 2022

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