The Changing Minds Project which is funded by the Big Lottery and based at local Mind offices in Abergavenny and Caldicot has been shortlisted for the prestigious Children and Young People Now Award-2015. The project works with young people aged 14-25 who have mental health difficulties and aims to support them through self management courses, 1:1 support and through volunteering across parts of Gwent. The Children and Young People Now awards 2015 has shortlisted the Changing Minds project under the Health and Wellbeing category as a project which strives to improve the lives of others.
“The Children & Young People Now Awards have become the gold standard for everyone working with children, young people and families. Now in their tenth year, these awards provide a great source of pride and recognition. They present a tremendous showcase of learning and best practice from across the country that can be an inspiration to all. The awards recognise initiatives from the public, private and voluntary sector that work with children and young people from birth to adolescence as well as their families.”
(Children And Young People Now Awards)
This is the second time that Changing Minds has been recognized as a project making a significant difference to young people, being selected to benefit from the Guardian and Observer Charity appeal and was featured in a full length article. The project runs in Newport, Torfaen and Monmouthshire and is due to undertake a major recruitment in order to expand across the whole of Gwent by November 2015.
Project Manager Seran Davies says “We are very pleased and proud that the project has been shortlisted and we hope that no matter whether we win or not we will have worked to break down the barriers of stigma and discrimination so young people get support sooner. The award ceremony will also be a wonderful opportunity to thank the team and the young volunteers for all their hard work and support”
To date 341 young people have accessed the Changing Minds Project in order to seek support or to become a peer support volunteers and share their own experiences of mental health. The impact that the project is making to young people is compelling, with young people returning to school where previously they may have been too anxious to attend and making a positive impact on young people’s experience of navigating challenging life experiences. One young person accessing the project says “Before I felt so alone, that no one would care if I were gone. Now I believe that there are people who would, I’ve realized how many people are just like me. I feel less alone.”
The Changing Minds Project aims to help over two and a half thousand young people in the next four years as the project expands across Gwent. Local Minds are proud to be providing badly needed services and support to young people, through the Changing Minds project, as well as working towards creating a more positive attitude towards mental illness and seeking support. Seran Davies the project manager hopes that this nomination will encourage all those with a passion for working with young people to apply in the upcoming recruitment, and to strive to promote mental wellbeing with all the young people they work with.