The Murray Parish Trust aim to raise £36,000 in support of ‘Stepping Stones’ art lead project

Record numbers of children and young people are being referred to mental health services revealing an unprecedented crisis. Services are stretched far beyond their limits and the waiting list for Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services is generally over three years. As well as significant concerns over the mental health of these individuals who are waiting for support or unable to access support at all, there is a wider impact on their social development, engagement with learning and, therefore, future prospects.

The Murray Parish Trust are working with Hampshire Cultural Trust to deliver a local, targeted response in Hampshire. They will deliver innovative support for sixty vulnerable children and young people (aged 11-17) through non-clinical, arts and creativity based intervention. The artists are not only highly accomplished, but are also experienced in working with young people with complex needs or those who have experienced trauma. They will lead tailored sessions for each young person and create a calm and a trusting environment which inspires and empowers them to reach their potential.

Artists will provide opportunities to engage in new artistic experiences, using this as an outlet to channel energy and express their emotions, and providing a chance to create something that provides a sense of achievement. Artists will provide meaningful cultural experiences that build confidence and self-esteem, resilience and helps them see learning and personal development as a positive experience whilst also developing transferable skills that support their recovery and longer-term life chances.

At the end of the year, an exhibition will be held to present their work to celebrate and share their achievement with friends and family, as well as raise awareness of children and young people’s mental health by presenting the high-quality work they created. Additional digital resources from the project will be shared with other practitioners working with young people (e.g. schools), contributing to the lasting legacy of the programme.

The individuals taking part will be referred from Children’s Services and schools, as well as NHS services and other settings supporting young people. This project will be delivered in Hampshire Cultural Trust’s museums and arts centres, within education and community settings, as well as Bursledon House at Southampton Children’s Hospital. It will extend their impressive ICE: Heritage Project, delivered over the past six years that made significant advances in using art to improve children and young people’s mental health.

The Murray Parish Trust aim to raise £36,000, in order to deliver this project for one year to lay the stepping stones that will help these children and young people to feel prepared and confident in dealing with their mental health challenges.

If you’d like to offer your support to this project, please get in touch today at [email protected]

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