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Cambridgeshire charities join forces for new mental health programme

Did you know, 50% of mental health problems are established by the age of 14. In Cambridgeshire alone, an estimated 13,600 children and young people aged 0-16 have a diagnosable mental health problem. So it’s clear that early support and intervention are key when it comes to mental health.

Seven organisations across Cambridgeshire, including Arts & Minds and Blue Smile (who are tenants at Allia’s Future Business Centre in Central Cambridge), have joined forces to form a new programme, Fullscope, to support the mental wellbeing of children and young people in the region.

Fullscope, the first programme of its kind in the county, will aim to improve provision of mental health services for children and young people through collaboration, establishing clearer pathways and influencing the sector. The programme will also look to save time and resources that can be wasted by smaller charities working in silos – giving the organisations involved the opportunity to work together to create change and improve mental health.

The programme has wide scope – with the organisations bringing expertise covering ages 0-25, different methods of delivery and different focuses – from the arts as a tool to improve mental health and wellbeing, to support services for LGBT+ young people. The seven organisations involved in the programme are Arts & Minds, Blue Smile, Cambridge Curiosity & Imagination, Centre 33, CPSL Mind, The Kite Trust and YMCA Trinity Group.

Lucy Oliver-Harrison, Director of Arts & Minds, says the Fullscope consortium hopes to make greater impact by working together: “There are a range of things that each individual organisation sees as most important – which we think is a bonus. So there’s a collection of ambitions, as well as a shared vision and focus for what we’re all trying to achieve.”

Children and young people will be integral to Fullscope’s decision making and influencing the agenda of the programme over the next three years. “Crucially we will work with a panel of young people, and discussion will be driven by them and inform all decision making,” explains Lucy.

The planning for Fullscope began a couple of years ago, when Cambridge-based tech giant Arm spoke with Gavin Clayton, then Director of Arts & Minds, to see how charities in the area could come together around a common goal to create something more than the sum of its parts. The seven organisations that now make up Fullscope started working together to see how they could address the mental health challenges faced by children and young people.

Following funding from The National Lottery Community Fund and development support from Arm and Norfolk & Norwich Festival Bridge, the programme now aims to transform services in the area.

Fullscope is currently recruiting for a Programme Director to oversee the smooth running of the project – and there is hope that the programme can continue past its initial three-year run: “We plan to provide an exemplar for how this kind of consortium can work, and be able to demonstrate a way that organisations can work together effectively to provide more streamlined services for young people in a region.”

For more information on the Fullscope programme, click here.