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Havering Mind’s mentoring service to end after council cuts funding

PUBLISHED: 14:00 18 January 2017

Havering Mind's £35,000 funding for its mentoring programme will not be renewd by Havering Council, when it comes to an end in March. Picture credit: PA images

Havering Mind's £35,000 funding for its mentoring programme will not be renewd by Havering Council, when it comes to an end in March. Picture credit: PA images

PA Wire/PA Images

A mental health charity’s mentoring service is due to close after the council decided not to renew its funding.

Havering MIND CEO Vanessa Bennett talking about the end of the Recorder's #iMind campaign at the Havering Town HallHavering MIND CEO Vanessa Bennett talking about the end of the Recorder's #iMind campaign at the Havering Town Hall

Dozens of children between the age of 10 and 18-years-old have benefited from Havering Mind’s mentoring scheme since its launch in 2000 and the service was helping up to 30 youngsters at one time.

But last night (Tuesday), young people and their families were told by Mind the programme was due to end.

The popular service was funded annually by Havering Council up to £35,000 but the contract will not be renewed when it comes to an end in March.

Instead, the council will be running its own mentoring programme called Early Help from April 2017.

CEO at Havering Mind Vanessa Bennett told the Recorder: “Havering Mind is disappointed that it will no longer be commissioned to provide the mentoring service as we have developed a good service model that’s supports young people to improve their mental wellbeing and achieve their potential.

“We would like to take this opportunity to thank everybody who has been involved in creating, developing and delivering this great service, which has helped so many young people and their families over the years.”

Mind’s specialised service paired young children in need of social and/or emotional support with mentors, who met with them in one-to-one sessions and accompanied them to a range of activities.

The programme played an important preventative role and targeted children at risk of social isolation such as bullying, school phobia, social or family crisis.

A council spokesman said the council has been “very happy with the service provided by Havering Mind” but the review of the service was necessary because of budgetary constraints.

He added: “Havering Council is working with Havering Mind on a transition plan so that there is no gap in the provision of a mentoring service following the ending of the current annual contract with Havering Mind.

“We are hopeful that the [Early Help] scheme will have at least as many volunteers as the current Mind scheme and be able to mentor even more families than we cater for presently.”

The council has already started to recruit volunteers across the borough to man its new programme but it also hopes some Mind volunteers will choose to work under the new scheme.

The Early Help service will not only focus on mental health support but will work with young people and their parents on a range of social issues.

Young people benefiting from Mind’s mentoring scheme will be given the choice to transfer onto the council’s programme.

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