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New grant programme launched by Headstart Kernow and Cornwall Community Foundation to support young people’s mental wellbeing

Young people in Cornwall will be able to access grants to support mental wellbeing thanks to a new grant programme launched by Headstart Kernow, the partnership programme run by Cornwall Council and funded by The National Lottery Community Fund.

Headstart Kernow are working in partnership with the Cornwall Community Foundation (CCF), the Cornish community grants charity, to create and administer the Fund.  In a ground-breaking development, a panel of young people will meet regularly to consider applications to the programme and award the grants.

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The pandemic has put additional strain on many young people in Cornwall who were already struggling with their mental health. Social isolation, loss of routine, changes in formal and informal support and uncertainty all threaten the mental wellbeing of young people. Since 2016, Headstart Kernow has been working with schools across the county to build the resilience of young people.

Cornwall Council Cabinet Member for Children and Public Health, Sally Hawken, said, “The guiding principle of Headstart Kernow is that young people with first-hand experience of the issues they face are best placed to shape potential solutions.

“The pandemic has created many additional pressures for young people and the Council is delighted to launch the Young People’s Wellbeing Fund to award grants in support of young people, decided by young people.”

Grants are available from £500 - £2,000 per individual for activities and interventions that make an immediate impact for young people in need of additional support. Applications for individual grants are made through a sponsoring organisation such as a youth group, community group or school. Activities that can be supported include, for example, trying new activities, accessing green spaces and meeting new people through group activity, as well as therapy-based interventions.

Tamas Haydu, Chief Executive of Cornwall Community Foundation, commented, “This is such a challenging time for young people in Cornwall and the Headstart Kernow Fund is a really exciting grant programme that will change young lives. We are delighted to be administering the grant programme for young people in Cornwall and working with the Headstart team.”

Headstart Kernow is part of a national six-year, £67.4 million National Lottery funded programme set up by The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK. HeadStart aims to explore and test new ways to improve the mental health and wellbeing of young people aged 10 to 16 and prevent serious mental health issues from developing.

Scott Hignett, Head of Funding for HeadStart at The National Lottery Community Fund, said: “This new fund will give young people in Cornwall the opportunity to explore different ways to build their resilience and improve their mental health. Putting young people at the forefront of mental health services is a core part of the HeadStart programme, and the Young People’s Wellbeing Fund is a fantastic example of this.

“Thanks to National Lottery players, Headstart Kernow is providing access to additional support and activities in Cornwall as we continue to feel the impact of the pandemic.”

For information on how community groups, mental health projects and individuals can apply for a grant, please visit the Cornwall Community Foundation website.