Youth zone's emotional wellbeing project receives £400,000 lottery grant

By Tim Aldred

23 May 2024

Reaching Communities PR

A project by Blackburn & Darwen Youth Zone which supports the emotional health and wellbeing of local young people has received significant financial backing from the National Lottery.

The lottery's Reaching Communities fund will provide £399,157 over the next four years, enabling the charity to enhance its existing emotional health and wellbeing service while also developing a new toolkit which will be made available nationally and to all local partners.

The funding will also enable Blackburn & Darwen Youth Zone and their partners to receive annual mental health first aid training.

Blackburn & Darwen Youth Zone has provided emotional health and wellbeing support alongside its conventional youth services since its formation in 2012 and has built considerable expertise in this area. This proved essential during the Covid-19 pandemic when Youth Zone was challenged to provide emotional health and wellbeing support away from traditional face-to-face approaches and moved some of its services online. Demand for this type of support has since increased tenfold.

A new service, Targeted Twilight, enables young people in crisis to make swift and rapid progress in their lives. Working in partnership with many local services, the Youth Zone has strengthened the borough-wide approach to supporting the most vulnerable children and young people.

In 2021, Blackburn & Darwen Youth Zone launched their Youth employability hub to support young people furthest from the job market. Many of these young people presented with multiple barriers to entering the world of work, with the majority struggling to cope with some type of mental health crisis. The charity has now supported nearly 1,000 local young people through the Targeted Twilight and Youth Hub services over the last two years alone.

The funding will enable a five-year strategy to evolve the emotional health and wellbeing offer into a fully-fledged wellbeing hub.

Hannah Allen, chief executive of Blackburn and Darwen Youth Zone, said: “We are delighted to receive support from Reaching Communities to enhance our health and wellbeing programmes. This will enable us to continue our journey towards developing a fully integrated emotional health and wellbeing service for the borough. I believe that this is the principal challenge of our time. 

"The youth sector has a unique contribution to make in supporting our young people's emotional wellbeing, and we are determined to play our part in this. Since the pandemic, safeguarding concerns have increased by 223 per cent, so the need has never been more urgent. We are trusted advocates for our young people, and this places us in a unique position to support their emotional wellbeing and help them progress toward an exciting and purposeful future full of opportunity.”

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