The Weald Family Hub
What is the Weald Family Hub?
The Weald Family Hub was conceived in response to rising concerns about mental illness in young people in the Wealden community. Its aim is to connect the community with people, projects and organisations that support young people and their families who are struggling with issues of mental health and is focussed on becoming a key local network of support for the Wealden villages. If you would like to receive regular updates about The Hub and the projects we're working on then please sign up here for our monthly newsletter.
There is an epidemic of mental ill health amongst people today. Locally, many of us have been personally affected by issues of mental illness amongst our own children, those of friends, or more broadly in the community around us.
An NHS report released in 2018 about the mental health of children and young people in England raises significant concerns about the prevalence of mental health disorders in children and young people and indicates that one in eight 5 to 19 year olds had a mental disorder when assessed in 2017. That equates to over 2500 young people in this area alone.
The Weald Family Hub has connected local churches, schools and individuals to fund the initial work, in addition to funding from the Weald Deanery (part of Canterbury Diocese). Through the funding support of the Weald schools, coupled with match funding from the Parish Churches and the Deanery itself, The Hub has now started work in earnest.
The Hub is initially working in partnership with Fegans, a highly respected charity that specialises in working with teenage mental illness. Fegans counsels children and provides parent support, intervention and training. Combining these disciplines gives Fegans the opportunity to work with families holistically, counselling the child and supporting the parent.
What will the Weald Family Hub do?
In the first year The Hub will focus on three areas:
to provide subsidised 1:1 counselling, by Fegans professional counsellors, to pupils in twelve local Primary and Secondary Schools
to give families access to the Fegans Parents Supporting Parents scheme in the Wealden community, enabling local volunteers todeliver a tailored programme of 1:1 support for families
to offer community-based parent support groups, and training and information events to raise awareness, build knowledge and increase resilience related to mental health in schools and in the community.
The Weald Family Hub is currently incorporated within Goudhurst St Mary’s Church and, in November 2018, made two new appointments;firstly, the Weald Family Hub Co-ordinator, who will work closely with local churches, schools and community groups who have a shared interest and commitment to the issues of mental health. In addition, through continued fundraising activities in support of The Hub, a Parent Support Co-ordinator has been appointed who will play a pivotal role as part of The Hub team by focussing on recruiting and training volunteers to run the Parents Supporting Parents scheme within the Weald community.
How is the Weald Family Hub making a difference?
The first group of children from four local schools are completing their initial counselling sessions which have been subsidised by The Hub. This means that twelve pupils have been given access to counselling sessions that may not have been available otherwise. This work will continue in 2019 with eight further schools.
In addition, five local volunteers have been recruited to run the Fegans Parents Supporting Parents scheme and we are currently accepting referrals from within the Weald community for families in need of support.
What happens next?
The issues facing children, families and communities cannot be addressed by any single organisation alone and this is an entirely local initiative. We have no funding other than that which is given by people who want to make a difference to the lives of children, young people and families. The Weald Family Hub is building its fundraising plan to secure additional funds in order to be able to do even more in 2019, not least to extend the subsidised counselling to all the schools in the Kent Weald, as not all could be accommodated initially.
How can you make a difference?
If you are able to contribute to this work, whether it be through donating your time or a financial contribution, all is valued and greatly appreciated and will make a real difference to the lives of young people and their families who are challenged by issues of mental health in our community. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01580 211739.
If you'd like to keep in touch, you can sign up for our newsletter here. It goes out every month with a mixture of updates, resources about young people and mental health and links to other local organisations.
If you would like to know more or have any questions, please contact us at email@example.com
News and helpful links
A leading charity supporting anyone affected by eating disorders or any other difficulties with food, weight and shape. https://www.beateatingdisorders.org.uk/
Fegans Understanding This Generation conference
Over 220 people representing over 35 churches from across the South East attended a series of inspirational and informative talks highlighting the need for us to act now as a community to support young people
Mental Health of Children and Young People in England, 2017
Summary of key findings, NHS Digital, November 2018. https://files.digital.nhs.uk/F6/A5706C/MHCYP%202017%20Summary.pdf
Fegans provides a full range of professional counselling services for Primary and Secondary school pupils throughout London and the South East. BACP registered counsellors are all fully qualified to work with parents and children to enable them to manage their lives, build relationships and make positive choices. https://www.fegans.org.uk/
The Weald Family Hub launch event
In June 2018 we launched the Weald Family Hub with a talk by Ian Soars, the Chief Executive of Fegans and a leading voice in the field of young people, families and mental health. You can listen to his talk here. From the same event you can also listen to Rev. Hugh Nelson speaking about the plans for the Weald Family Hub.
The Weald Family Hub
Connecting the community with people, projects & organisations to support young people & their families who are struggling with issues of mental health across the Wealden villages