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Wellbeing of children and young people

Date: 8 February 2022
Author: Cllr Robin Brown
Title: Finance and Resources Lead Member

This week is children’s mental health week and we are asking the people of Richmond to stop and think about the health and wellbeing of children and young people in our borough.

When we launched the Richmond Upon Thames Voluntary Fund back in 2020 we couldn’t have foreseen the pandemic or the impact it would have. The Department for Education has highlighted a 25% increase in mental health cases in children. A survey of over 1,000 teachers found that the vast majority had experienced an increase in wellbeing challenges for children in their schools – such as low self-esteem, depression, or anxiety.

The Fund is an independent charity and we are hugely grateful to the residents of the borough for their contributions. We use the money raised to support local charities.

In 2021 alone over 2,000 children and young people benefitted from the work that this funding enabled – be that direct counselling, advice sessions in schools, opportunities for outdoor play and social reconnection for children with Special Educational Needs, or engagement with nature both individually and in groups.

The theme of Children’s Mental Health Week this year is ‘grow together’. We are all encouraged to reflect on our journey through life, the setbacks and challenges we have experienced and how we have coped, learned and grown. We can use these experiences to help support those younger people we are in contact with.

The trustees of the Voluntary Fund have also been thinking about the wider pressures on children that can lead to mental health challenges and how important it is to support their parents and carers.

We have selected four charities to work with this year who help in a variety of different ways. Richmond Carers Centre will support young carers under pressure as they care for another family member. ADHD Embrace provides a support network to parents, carers and professionals working with children and teenagers with ADHD. The Daniel Spargo-Mabbs Foundation focuses on drug and alcohol education. And Off The Record provides a free drop-in counselling, information and sexual health service for young people aged 11-24.

I am very conscious when asking for your support that many people are facing real cost of living challenges at the moment. The trustees stress that all donations are entirely voluntary and that any size of donation will be welcome – all can contribute. If you can join our regular supporters and consider an ongoing direct debit that would really help.

Thank you for thinking about the health and wellbeing of our children and young people. Any support to the fund that you are able to give will be much appreciated and every single penny will go to the charities.

Residents can make a donation to the Richmond upon Thames Voluntary Fund.

If you are concerned about a young person's mental health, you can get support from the Emotional Health Service provided by Achieving for Children

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Updated: 17 March 2022