Children in Need announces £10m child mental health grants programme

A Million & Me is intended to provide support for children aged eight to 13 who are struggling with wellbeing

BBC Children in Need has today announced the first recipients of a new, three-year, £10m grants programme to improve children's mental health.

The programme, called A Million & Me, provides early action support for children between eight and 13 who are struggling with wellbeing before mental health problems are established.

The largest award has gone to the digital mental health charity Mental Health Innovations, which was founded only in 2017. It is getting £1.5m over three years to fund a new support service for people in crisis.

Parent Zone has been awarded £569,000 to facilitate conversations between children and their parents or carers.

Grants have also been awarded to the Wave Project (£296,000), which uses surfing as therapy in Devon and Cornwall, the Verbal Arts Centre (£221,160), for its reading rooms project in Northern Ireland, and Young Minds (£118,000), to engage with parents and carers.

Simon Antrobus, chief executive of BBC Children in Need, said: "A Million & Me is the first in a series of impact programmes we are developing to address some of the most pressing issues affecting the UK’s children and young people today."

A BBC Children in Need spokeswoman said the awards had been made "in line with our usual grant-making processes". There was no open application process.

"These applications were developed in discussion with BBC Children in Need staff and an expert advisory group," she said.

"At the local level, the applications were supported by BBC Children in Need’s national and regional grant teams and more widely through sector discussions.

"Each proposal has been comprehensively assessed, considered by the charity’s executive team; A Million & Me’s expert advisory group; the charity’s impact sub-committee; and finally approved by trustees."

The spokeswoman added: "Today’s announcement is not an open call for funding applications, but anyone interested in engaging with the programme can email pudseygrants@bbc.co.uk."

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