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Richmond Voluntary Fund smashes £100k for local youth mental health charities

11 June 2021

The Richmond upon Thames Voluntary Fund, which raises money for four local youth mental health charities, has so far raised over £100k and it is not too late to donate!  

The Fund is a charitable trust that was launched in 2020 to collect donations from residents for specific vulnerable groups, where there is a need for additional funding for help and support.

Every year the Voluntary Fund (Registered Charity No. 1186870) selects a vulnerable group which it intends to support. Residents are invited to donate towards chosen local charities that work hard to offer support in this area of need. The 2021 beneficiaries are Twickenham based charity Off The RecordRichmond Borough Mind, Dose of Nature and Marble Hill Playcentres

Since the launch of this year’s appeal, thanks to the generosity of local people, over £100k has so far been raised (including Gift Aid), with donations still coming in. 

The Trustees decided that, in 2021, the Fund will continue to support children’s and youth mental health for a second year. After the first national lockdown in 2020, approximately one in six children was identified as having a probable mental health disorder. Lack of interaction with friends, access to sports and social activities, plus worries about education and their futures, have all led to increased levels of anxiety in young people and children.

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. Richmond Borough Mind offer free mental health awareness assemblies and workshops to every primary and secondary school in the borough and work alongside the schools to promote better mental health. Their specialist workshops cover important issues from cyber bullying to exam stress and anxiety.

Dose of Nature offers a number of opportunities, presentations and programmes, appropriate for children and young people of all ages. Their workshops combine classroom-based learning about the mental health benefits of spending more time in nature, with practical outdoor nature-based activities. Marble Hill Playcentres’ mission is to unlock the power of play and the magic of community, providing inclusive, supportive and sustainable play and education services to all children and families. In a normal year they would have around 10,000 visits.

Residents can make a donation throughout the year online or by cheque and every donation counts. Just £55 could help provide a crisis counselling session for a young person, or £105 could provide five 1:1 youth peer mentor sessions.

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

"This is a phenomenal amount of money. It is tremendous that local people have been so generous again and continue to recognise the importance of mental health support for our younger residents. 

"As life starts to move back to normality, we are still seeing an increase in demand on children and youth mental health services every day. The evidence shows, if young people don’t get the help they need when they are young, there are huge ramifications in later life. We simply cannot let the pandemic ruin the future of our children and young people.

"I would like to thank all the residents who have made such generous donations so far. 100% of all donations will go to the four charities and will make a huge difference to the valuable work that they deliver. 

"I would also like to thank Off The Record, Richmond Borough Mind, Dose of Nature and Marble Hill Playcentres, as well as all the other voluntary sector organisations in the borough, who have all done so much to help support our families through this continued difficult time."

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

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 use the SPA referral form.

If you need to speak to someone urgently after hours or at the weekend, call the Out of Hours team on 020 8770 5000. For more information visit AfC website.

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Up to: June 2021

Updated: 11 June 2021