The Hampshire & Isle of Wight Community Foundation (HIWCF) has awarded grants totalling £55,058 to ten local groups with the support of the Police & Crime Commissioner for Hampshire, Michael Lane, who provided match-funding of c.80% to the Youth Mental Health Fund. Grants have been awarded to local voluntary groups right across Hampshire, Portsmouth, Southampton and Isle of Wight area for projects working towards the prevention and treatment of mental health problems for younger people.

The fund supports young children from the age of five up to adults of 25 years old who have been affected by a range of issues including anxiety, depression, cyberbullying, low self-esteem, drug addition, bereavement, domestic abuse and crime. Young people living with mental health issues, and their parents and carers, need be able to explore their concerns in a safe, friendly and non-judgemental environment, receiving support with their emotional wellbeing to help them avoid illness and mental distress. This is the first time HIWCF has run a Youth Mental Health fund and the Foundation received an overwhelming response, with applications received from 38 groups expressing an interest in grants for projects amounting to £206,823.67.

The ten organisations receiving grants are:

Organisation Grant Amount Area
Spotlight UK       £5,850 Basingstoke and Deane
Kings Arms Youth Centre       £6,000 East Hampshire
Solent Youth Action       £5,307 Eastleigh
Fleet Phoenix       £5,750 Hart
Havant and East Hampshire Mind       £6,000 Havant
Jigsaw Family Support       £5,252 Isle of Wight
It’s Your Choice       £6,000 New Forest
Autism Hampshire       £4,429 Portsmouth
Southampton Women’s Aid       £5,470 Southampton
Winchester Youth Counselling       £5,000 Winchester

Autism Hampshire, Portsmouth

Autism Hampshire based in Portsmouth will use their grant of £4,429 to provide an intensive autism specialist training programme for families and professionals of Portsmouth based children and young people who are on the autism spectrum. They will facilitate in-depth training sessions, providing the specialist knowledge needed to make a real and lasting difference to their emotional wellbeing. The training will cover a range of topics including communication, transition, behaviour and sensory processing. Young people and children on the autism spectrum often experience isolation, exclusion, a lack of opportunities and increased feelings of vulnerability. The training will address these issues, enabling parents and carers to provide support for their children to help them become more self-confident and independent, increasing their self-esteem.

Rhona Bray, Senior Manager from Autism Hampshire told us “We are delighted that HIWCF is supporting our good mental health and wellbeing project. We believe that by providing parents and carers with this training we can help to make a positive difference for Portsmouth children and young people on the autism spectrum.”

Havant and East Hampshire MIND

Havant and East Hampshire MIND will use their grant of £6,000 to deliver a young people’s wellbeing service, prioritising children who have not quite met the criteria threshold for statutory intervention but still have significant mental health needs. The project will initially involve creating a wellbeing plan based on the young people’s mental and physical health and family situation and then a variety of interventions will be offered based on their specific needs.

Ross Borman, Business Development Manager at Havant and East Hampshire MIND said “Deprivation and poor health are inextricably linked, our 12 month consultation with schools in the Leigh Park area and with children at this years’ FitFest event identified large numbers of parents with complex needs including mental health, substance misuse, domestic violence, low incomes etc. This can all lead to low self-esteem in children, the risk of child sexual exploitation, low school attendance, self-harm and suicide. The age-appropriate psychosocial education programmes and positive activities are designed to build confidence, better understand healthy relationships, symptoms and coping mechanisms. Early support in adolescence will promote resilience at a time when it is most needed to prevent behaviours and beliefs from becoming more permanently embedded, improving mental health and wellbeing. This provides a safety net for many children, who would otherwise be left with no support and this joined-up approach will ensure better attendance at school and reduce likelihood of self-harm and suicide.”

Jigsaw Family Support, Isle of Wight

Jigsaw Family Support based in Ryde offers psychological therapy and counselling to families in crisis and to children and young people who have been affected by family breakdown. The group has received a grant of £5,252 to enable them to support more young people suffering with mental health issues, allowing them to expand their services and offer even more help for people in desperate need who have nowhere else to go for the right advice and support. The group aims to help by dealing with the physical and emotional turmoil that may lead to unhappiness, risk taking, substance misuse or anti-social behaviour, reducing isolation and promoting key values that children and young people can carry forward into their adult lives.

Tina Maretic, Centre Co-ordinator for Jigsaw said “We are delighted to receive this grant which enables us to continue our vital services on the Island, supporting an average of 36 vulnerable young people every month. It is vital that children with mental health problems get early support, yet the reality is that mental health for young people has been chronically underfunded for decades. By gaining access to the right kind of counselling and treatment we believe that we can address young people’s problems, effectively transforming how they will deal with issues in their future lives in a more positive way.”

Spotlight UK, Basingstoke

The young people and their families are referred to Spotlight UK via health visitors, GPs, schools, social workers and other agencies and the group work with a range of children including those on child protection plans due to neglect, emotional, physical or domestic abuse, parents who substance misuse, families with financial concerns, young carers, children in care, children with a parent in prison or children who have experienced loss or separation.

Michaela Riley, Chief Executive of Spotlight said “We are delighted that HIWCF is supporting our project which is aimed at the heart of Spotlight’s work in helping disadvantaged and vulnerable children in our area. In the last 25 years, anxiety and depression rates amongst young people have increased by 70%, with young people often reluctant to seek help from mental health services for fear of being stigmatised. If left unsupported the impact of ill health and stigma can be devastating, but with the right help at the right time, the wellbeing of young people with mental health problems can be greatly improved.”

Southampton Women’s Aid

Southampton Women’s Aid have been awarded a grant of £5,470 to pilot a project supporting vulnerable young people with experience of domestic violence and abuse, drinking or drug issues and poor mental health, three factors which tend to co-exist and are known to significantly raise the risk of harm in an abusive relationship and the barriers to recovery. The project will focus on early intervention through therapeutic education programmes with participants identifying their own risks and behaviours, addressing all the issues of domestic abuse, drinking or drug issues and poor mental health. The aim is for the young people to build resilience, confidence and strategies to address their issues and to help to stop their problems escalating, enabling recovery and helping them to achieve sustainable independence.

A spokesperson for Southampton Women’s Aid said “The recent mental health review conducted in the City highlighted that mental health issues are a growing issue for young people and this project will be a priority for vulnerable young people in the area. We will work closely with key agencies that support young people with alcohol misuse, mental health and wellbeing, and with our expertise we will deliver two psycho-education programmes, six awareness briefings and an online campaign to raise the profile of the risks of domestic violence and abuse in Southampton.”

Jakes Ferguson, Chief Executive of HIWCF commented: “The overwhelming response to our first HIWCF Youth Mental Health fund demonstrates huge demand for the support of mental health programmes in the area. Figures from the Office of National Statistics in 2016 indicate that almost 1 in 4 children and young people show some evidence of mental ill health (including anxiety and depression), with just 0.7% of the NHS budget spent on children’s mental health. We are extremely pleased to support the vital work of local groups in this area of Youth Mental Health, and unfortunately with the funds available are only able to support a small number of those requesting help; so we have further work to do raising funds and awareness to meet the needs of vulnerable people across our communities.”

HIWCF continuously reviews grant-making to ensure that it focuses on the areas of greatest need. Last year we were able to target 70% of our £1.1m grant spend on the 50% most deprived wards in our area. If you would like to find out more about HIWCF and our invaluable work across Hampshire and Isle of Wight, Southampton and Portsmouth please look at

 All enquiries should be directed to HIWCF and not to the Office of the Police & Crime Commissioner.

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