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PFCC Community Safety Fund helps to give young people their ‘Spark’!

A charity is working to ease the “mental health crisis” which would otherwise leave young people who are struggling with no support.

Spark, a branch of national Christian charity Worth Unlimited, supports young people on their journey to improved mental and emotional wellbeing and increases their community engagement.

Based at Loughton Youth Centre, Spark supports young people through counselling, mentoring, a street mentoring project and a youth club, giving them self-worth and resilience while reducing antisocial behaviour and protecting them from harm.

The Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex (PFCC) has provided £7,997 from the 2018-2019 Community Safety Fund to go towards the payroll of the branch manager and business manager.

Roger Hirst, Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex, is delighted to be able to support this charity which helps young people when they could be at their most vulnerable.

He said: “Protecting children and vulnerable people from harm is one of the priorities in my Police and Crime Plan. The work Spark is doing in Loughton cannot be underestimated. Providing this kind of support really can make a huge difference to the lives of our young people.”

The team has been working with schools, GP surgeries and other community contacts to grow the service steadily.

Volunteer counsellors and mentors give their time each week to work with young people, giving the community a role to play.

Victoria Williamson, Funding Manager, said: “We are not just delivering a counselling service. We are really trying to be holistic when looking at the problems young people face.

“With our volunteers, we are giving people in the community an opportunity to engage with young people. This gives them positive role models in their lives. Our youth club brings together those who have had mental health problems and so they understand each other. And our family work helps parents and young people to communicate better. We are also introducing a ten-week nurturing workshop for parents of teenagers from September.

“That is why the PFCC has recognised what we are doing is different in terms of reducing crime by intervening and providing a stable support network.

“The grant is amazing as it is helping to support our core costs. It is comparably easier to go to people and say we need money to provide counselling and to pay for sessions to be delivered. What is harder is to get people to understand the core costs and co-ordination of the service.

“For us, this money is really important as it is supporting our core costs, which allows us to be able to deliver the service and to communicate it in the right way.

“It’s going really well.”

Spark aims to see anyone who can make it along to the Loughton base, and requests donations in return for its services.

To find out more contact spark@worthunlimited.co.uk or 0208 508 6743 during term time.

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01245 291600

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