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"This money will save lives”: Local youth counselling service to triple capacity, thanks to National Lottery funding

Based in rural Somerset, In Charley’s Memory, a pioneering youth mental health organisation, has just received almost £390,000 from The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK.

The grant is life-changing for young people in the area, allowing the charity to triple the capacity of its sought-after counselling service – from seeing 109 young people a week, with a long waiting list, to more than 400.

The money will be used to build eight more counselling rooms, a staff area, and meeting space, giving the counsellors and volunteers private rooms to talk to young people and unwind between appointments.

The counselling-focused charity was set up by Charley’s mum Jo, after her son, a local teenager, completed suicide. Determined to help other parents and young people like her child and to ensure ‘there can be no more Charley’s’, it has since been running one-to-one counselling sessions, school outreach programmes, and peer support networks to combat suicide in young adults.

Dawn Carey, Operations Manager at In Charley’s Memory, is keen to emphasise the impact this funding will have on their organisation and the young people they help. She said: “COVID-19 had a huge impact on the younger generation, and we are seeing much higher levels of anxiety and depression come through our doors. Thanks to National Lottery players, these additional rooms will allow us to get to people before they reach crisis.

“As a friend of Charley’s mum, I saw what he and his family went through and we don’t want anyone else to have to go through that. This money will save lives. It is as black and white as that.”

In Charley’s Memory is one of 177 charities and community groups across the South West to have been awarded more than £5 million of National Lottery funding in the past quarter*, supporting them to overcome social and economic challenges raised by the pandemic.

The South West isn’t alone in benefiting from National Lottery funding. Yesterday, it was announced that almost £65 million has been distributed to over 1,700 community organisations across England in the past three months*.

Rowan Miller, Head of Funding for the South West at The National Lottery Community Fund, said: “Thanks to National Lottery players, this funding is having a much needed positive impact on people’s lives across the South West. It’s inspiring to see dedicated volunteers and groups, like In Charley’s Memory, giving vital support to people that need it. This funding has given a cash boost to communities, so they can build and emerge stronger from the pandemic.”

The National Lottery Community Fund distributes money raised by National Lottery players for good causes. Thanks to National Lottery players, last year we awarded over half a billion pounds (£588.2 million) of life-changing funding to communities across the UK. Over eight in ten (83%) of our grants are for under £10,000 – going to grassroots groups and charities across the UK that are bringing to life amazing ideas that matter to their communities.

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Notes to Editors

* These figures are for funding awarded from 26 June – 10 September 2021.

About us

We are the largest funder of community activity in the UK – we’re proud to award money raised by National Lottery players to communities across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. National Lottery players raise £36 million each week for good causes throughout the UK. Since The National Lottery began in 1994, £43 billion has been raised for good causes which has supported over 635,000 projects, benefiting millions of people - that’s 255 projects per postcode area.

We are passionate about funding great ideas that matter to communities and make a difference to people’s lives. At the heart of everything we do is the belief that when people are in the lead, communities thrive. Thanks to the support of National Lottery players, our funding is open to everyone. We’re privileged to be able to work with the smallest of local groups right up to UK-wide charities, enabling people and communities to bring their ambitions to life.

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