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Helping to prevent self-harm amongst young people

A national project run by Youthscape to support young people at risk of self-harming is just one of 624 projects sharing in close to £14.8 million the Big Lottery Fund.

Yesterday’s awards have been made through the Big Lottery Fund’s Awards for All and Reaching Communities programmes. Awards for All provides grants between £300 and £10,000 to voluntary and community organisations and Reaching Communities awards larger grants of £10,000 and above.

Youthscape, based in Luton will use £496,490 for its self-harm England-wide project for around 4,350 young people enabling it to be developed and expanded. They will also work with 2,250 professionals such as teachers and youth workers plus parents following a pilot scheme. This will now be rolled out nationally through regional training courses and events providing them with the knowledge and confidence to be able to respond to self-harm including disclosure, training and resources. The nationwide training will be provided through secondary schools, colleges, youth clubs and GP surgeries.

Young people using the services will be actively involved through their own advisory panel which will review all aspects of the services available and ensure that new projects and materials are relevant to them and tackle appropriate issues. This will include new support networks for siblings and friends of those who self harm plus a formal parents consultation and support group and the development of a new parents guide to self-harm, emotional health discussions cards and a multimedia resource.

Youthscape will also continue its successful online Alumina website which enables young people to participate in a virtual group with their privacy fully protected using software and technology specifically developed for it. The secure website provides essential information on where young people can go in an emergency and also provides vital knowledge on the facts of self harming, statistics, dealing with scars and how to disclose to others.

Beth (not her real name) explains her experience of self-harming, “I started harming when I was 15 and I harmed for eight months, was then in recovery for two years, then harmed again. I joined programme run by selfharm UK during a very difficult time in my life. I was at a very low point and knew that I needed help, but I didn’t know where to turn. After signing up to a group, I can honestly say that it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Everyone was so supportive and it was wonderful to be able to have such as a safe space full of understanding and non-judgemental people every week. It gave me something to look forward to and it gave me hope for a future that before then, I didn’t think I could have. The weekly goals helped me focus on recovery and now I am proud to say that I have been in recovery for 16 months, something I didn’t think would be possible. The programme has helped me grow in confidence both in myself, and to talk about self-harming. I am no longer ashamed of my scars as now they are a reminder of how strong I am.”

OCD Action aims to increase the number of independent support groups across England with its grant of £165,454 for people living with this debilitating mental health condition. The organisation based in North Norfolk will develop the reach of the successful project into new areas such as Lincolnshire, Gloucestershire and Devon enabling around 1,200 people living with OCD to receive direct support and more through online information and support resources and be able to live their lives in a more manageable way.

People living with OCD will be at the centre of continuous consultations to identify the barriers that many experience when attending support groups. Help will also be provided to connect them to local support groups as part of their own treatment plans.

The project will be reaching out to diverse communities who may have encountered difficulties getting access to help. To help embed local groups into the community and ensure they are recognised as a source of quality support, OCD Action will be working closely with Clinical Commissioning Groups and Improving Access to Psychological Therapies services, national charities and local community groups.

Lyn Cole, Big Lottery Fund England Grant Making Director said: “Projects such as Youthscape and OCD Action help people to grow in confidence, focus on their strengths, and in turn help others going through similar life events by sharing their experiences.”

Full list of grants is available here

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Notes to Editors

  • The Big Lottery Fund supports the aspirations of people who want to make life better for their communities across the UK. We are responsible for giving out 40% of the money raised by the National Lottery for good causes and invest over £650 million a year in projects big and small in health, education, environment and charitable purposes. 
  • Since June 2004 we have awarded over £8 billion to projects that make a difference to people and communities in need, from early years intervention to commemorative travel funding for World War Two veterans.
  • Since the National Lottery began in 1994, £33 billion has been raised and more than 450,000 grants awarded.


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