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Funding secured for young people’s mental health sessions in Ottery

PUBLISHED: 12:00 21 January 2018

Helen Harms, chief officer for Ottery Help Scheme, with Paul Ritchie and David Roberts from Ottery League of Friends. The league of friends have supported the help scheme with its project to bring mental health services to Ottery.

Helen Harms, chief officer for Ottery Help Scheme, with Paul Ritchie and David Roberts from Ottery League of Friends. The league of friends have supported the help scheme with its project to bring mental health services to Ottery.


An initiative to bring ‘much-needed’ mental health support to young people in Ottery has achieved enough funding to begin the service.

Ottery Help Scheme will work in partnership with The Project in Axminster to run weekly sessions for young people aged 13 - 24, who have not been diagnosed or face a wait to see clinical specialists, and their families.

With one in 10 children estimated to have diagnosable mental health issues, the charity is working to finance the initiative for a period of three years at a cost of £25,000 a year.

Helen Harms, chief officer at the help scheme, said: “By working together to provide mental health support to the young people of Ottery and their families, we aim to ensure that they feel more supported, less alone and better equipped to deal with mental health problems if and when they arise.

“We hope that this in turn will have a positive impact upon both the short- and long-term health and wellbeing of the individuals and families concerned, thereby helping to substantially reduce the negative repercussions of unaddressed mental health problems.”

The initiative has been supported by organisations across the town including The King’s School, Coleridge Medical Centre and Ottery Hospital League of Friends – which has contributed to the costs for a period of three years, alongside the charity’s funding.

Mrs Harms added: “We are now in the process of liaising with The Project in Axminster and very much hope that the Ottery sessions will be up and running within the next four to six months.

“All of the partnership organisations are extremely excited about the prospect of being able to offer mental health support sessions in Ottery, where they will make such a difference to young people and their families experiencing mental health difficulties.”

Ottery Town Council has teamed up with West Hill and Aylesbeare parish councils in a bid to secure £8,500 of Parishes Together money to assist with the sessions’ start-up costs.

Councillor Roger Giles said the project was an opportunity to ‘make a difference’.

Cllr Ian Holmes added: “It’s nice to have a positive project. We are always scratching around for something to spend the [Parishes Together] money on.”

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