Peer support to launch this month to improve mental health for Ottery youngsters

Grant Jones, Lorna Davis, Emma Curtis, Natasha Breen and volunteer Hayley Jones will be part of the

Grant Jones, Lorna Davis, Emma Curtis, Natasha Breen and volunteer Hayley Jones will be part of the team working with young people in Ottery. - Credit: Archant

Young people in Ottery will be able to access a new peer support service as part of an initiative to improve emotional wellbeing and mental health in the town.

Ottery Help Scheme and Action East Devon will be working in partnership to operate a weekly service at The Station for those aged 13 to 24.

The peer support service sessions, which will be led by Action East Devon, will provide young people with the opportunity to build friendships in a supportive and non-judgemental environment, as well as activities aimed at building self-esteem, confidence and resilience.

An open evening will be held on Monday (June 4) at The Station between 6pm and 8pm to meet the team and find out about the support and activities it will be offering.

Emma Curtis, manager of the peer support service, said: “I’m looking forward to launching this service so that more young people who are experiencing emotional distress can access support in a fun and relevant way.

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“I’m proud of the team of dedicated staff and volunteers who are passionate about helping young people to focus on their strengths and to develop tools and skills to build their emotional resilience.

“I’m really pleased for Ottery and know that it will have a positive impact on not only young people, but their families and the wider community.”

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The scheme has been successfully supporting young people in Axminster and Chard.

The project received financial backing from Ottery Hospital League of Friends and also netted £8,364 of Communities Together funding from the district and county councils to provide mental health services.

Emily Lezzeri, chief officer of Ottery Help Scheme, said: “Ottery Help Scheme and the league of friends welcome the opportunity to support the young people of Ottery and its surrounding area. We wish Emma and the team every success in delivering this much-needed project.”

The team will run two groups on alternate Mondays and these will be split between 13 to 18 year olds and 18 to 24 year olds. The sessions will begin with the 13 to 18 group on Monday, June 11, from 6pm to 8pm. The service is now accepting referrals via its website and is looking for volunteers who have experience in mental health.

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