• Ellesmere Port children’s mental health project given £10,000 boost

A project to improve the mental health and wellbeing of hundreds of children in Ellesmere Port is to receive a £10,000 funding boost from Liberty Group.

The initiative is run by Healthbox Community Interest Company (CIC). The funding means Healthbox can extend its existing adult counselling service in Ellesmere Port to offer it to more than 800 children.

Liberty Group, which provides high-quality property services, has granted the funding as part of its commitment to investing in communities and improving people’s lives.

The project will kick start in September 2018 and will provide counselling and workshops to Whitby Heath Primary School, Rossmore Primary School and Westminster Primary School.

Schools will be able to choose from workshops on a range of topics from tackling bullying, to yoga and mindfulness for pupils. Where needed family counselling sessions will also be offered.

Teachers will attend a ‘Mental Health First Aid’ course to help them better recognise the signs of poor mental health in people and how best to support them.

Recent statistics demonstrate the high demand for mental health services for young people in the area. Close to 3,600 children aged 5-10 years old in Cheshire have a mental health condition.

In Ellesmere Port children are up to 50% more likely to have a mental health condition such as anxiety and depression than in other parts of Cheshire.

Steve Parrington, Managing Director of Construction at Liberty said: “We know that young people’s mental health services play an important role but services are stretched.

“That’s why we are delighted to enable Healthbox CIC to offer their counselling services and workshops to hundreds of school pupils in Ellesmere Port who need this extra support.”

Simon Sandford, Director - Healthbox CIC said: “We have seen the benefits of our adult counselling service in the local area and are delighted to be able to extend this to support the mental health needs of children and families across Ellesmere Port. National data suggests that many young adults who present with complex mental health issues can be traced back to childhood. We hope that by providing this support and awareness for teaching staff and working with primary school children, that some of these issues can be identified and resolved before they escalate. Statistics this year, sadly show that four in five teachers have seen a pupil struggling with mental health problems in the past year including suicidal thoughts or behaviour (Stem4). We are so pleased that in Ellesmere Port our primary schools and teachers are so keen to be involved and support this project.”

The funding from Liberty has been made possible thanks to a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) partnership with builders’ merchants Travis Perkins. The firm's spending with Travis Perkins builds up a rebate which Liberty then designates to fund specific projects to benefit local communities.

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