Weald Family Hub Steps Up

The villages of the Weald have joined forces to address the growing mental health crisis.

Weald Family Hub Steps Up to Address Mental Health Crisis

Following the success of the public meeting in Goudhurst earlier in the summer, the villages of the Weald have joined forces to address the growing mental health crisis facing children, young people and families. Ten local churches and 12 schools have collectively raised £12,000 to fund professional children’s counselling and parent support services, which will be provided by local charity Fegans. Meanwhile a growing group of local people have offered to be trained as parent support volunteers in their communities.

Fegans have now begun working with the schools and training the parent support volunteers will start in October. Three children in each of the 12 schools will be able to benefit from the counselling. Once trained, the parent support volunteers will be working across the Weald to support parents who are having a difficult time, overseen by a Co-ordinator employed by Fegans and St Mary’s, Goudhurst.

The initiative – now called the Weald Family Hub – has won the support of local MP Greg Clarke who said: “Providing better mental health services for young people is an issue that I feel extremely strongly about so I was delighted to hear about the Weald Family Hub.  Voluntary groups – set up to fulfil a local identified need – are often much more effective than statutory organisations and I think the combination of local schools, families, churches and Fegans working together should be very successful. 

“One of the most important things for families with children experiencing a mental health condition is to get speedy help to ensure the problem doesnt develop into something more serious.  The plan by the Weald Family Hub to provide professional counselling services to schools and support to parents and carers is just whats needed.

Rt Revd Trevor Willmott, the Bishop of Dover, has added his support, saying “I know & value the work of Fegans immensely. There can surely be no finer sign of the Churchs commitment to the well-being of every person than to commit itself to join others in seeking to combat the rising levels of mental illness especially among young people.”

The Weald Family Hub began as a community response to the suffering faced by so many young people and families who are living with anxiety, self-harm and depression. Led by the local churches the Hub aims to provide practical support for living well in the face of the challenges of our rapidly changing world.

Revd Hugh Nelson, Vicar of St Mary’s, Goudhurst said ‘I have been overwhelmed both by the scale of the challenges our young people are facing, and by the deep desire of local communities to get stuck in and to provide practical support to kids and parents who are struggling. The Weald Family Hub is going to make a real difference.”

Ian Soars, CEO of Fegans said: “For many children entering our counselling rooms life feels unbearable; severe bullying or trauma, emotional, physical or sexual abuse has led them to self-harm and contemplate suicide. Our counsellors are trained to identify root causes and provide emotional and mental health support before its too late. Early intervention saves lives.”

Weald Family Hub is now fundraising to employ a manager for the parent support volunteers. Find out more at bit.ly/wealdfamilyhub

To donate contact Hugh Nelson on 01580 211739 or email hugh.nelson@ymail.com