Support children suffering because of Covid-19

by Rotary Club of Hadleigh Castle Trust Fund
Support children suffering because of Covid-19
Support children suffering because of Covid-19
Support children suffering because of Covid-19
Support children suffering because of Covid-19
Support children suffering because of Covid-19
Support children suffering because of Covid-19

Thank You

Hadleigh Castle Rotary, working with Kids Inspire, has raised over £8,700, an incredible amount of money, to help children in Essex suffering with mental health as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

You have helped pay for over 100 online and video-link therapy sessions with a qualified therapist. An initial programme of 3 sessions is often all it takes to help a young person, but some of the most complex cases will take up to 30 sessions. 

Some children and young people just need a friend to talk to, and these mentors also act a step-down service for those who have completed their therapy. The money raised includes $5,000 donated by GlobalGiving’s Coronavirus Relief Fund. This was used to train 9 mentors to support children and young people in this difficult era of Covid.

"Our vital services continue thanks to the generosity of our supporters. We provide therapeutic and community support for the young people of Essex and beyond who are struggling to cope with the impact of the pandemic on top of their existing everyday concerns.” (Paula Ashfield, Head of Fundraising & Communications)

Joseph’s Journey

Thanks to your support, we have been able to support young people like Joseph, who received therapy after being referred to us by his school. Speaking on the radio recently he said:  

On my housing estate I’m a victim of bullying and I started having suicidal thoughts and was feeling very down in the dumps. I just was not feeling great and felt stressed and anxious, I was just feeling really down.” 

Joseph was helped by one of Kids Inspire’s creative therapists and then, as part of his step down from therapy, Joseph was given a mentor whom he met ‘virtually’ on a weekly basis throughout lockdown. Joseph has now become an ambassador for youth mental health, looking to help others struggling as he did.  

Royal Recognition

The work undertaken by Kids Inspire has been recognised by the Queen. Sue Bell, the director and founder of Kids Inspire, has been awarded an OBE for services to charity, mental health and education in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2021. “Even through challenging times, Kids Inspire has not strayed from the path of empowering children, young people and families, and as long as we are needed there we shall remain. Thank you for being there too.” (Sue Bell)

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What happens after Counselling?

Mentoring services are provided by Kids Inspire as a step-down service for children who have completed a course of counselling but continue to need some support. It is also provided for children who don’t need professional psycho-therapist counselling services but need to talk to someone who is not family or school.

In an era of Covid lockdown the social lives of children and young people are severely curtailed. They may be confined to home, or restricted to their school ‘bubble’. Just having a chat with a mate’s dad is no longer an option for many children. Talking about personal ‘stuff’ with parents can be embarrassing or worrying. A child or young person may be living in a single parent household with no male role model, or female role model, to interact with; or perhaps their parents are going through a divorce. 


Mentors are usually volunteers with a keen interest in children’s physical and emotional health. A mentor may be a retired school teacher, or a part-time parent. They must, however, have the time to devote to a child in need. Prospective mentors are vetted for suitability and then receive comprehensive training. This training includes safeguarding and child protection as well as Disclosure and Barring Service checks

Mentors can then go on to help children for many years. Mentors are matched with a child or young person so that they have experiences or hobbies in common. A mentor may have responsibility for just a single child or young person or in rare cases up to three, but this all depends on the time a mentor can commit. There is currently a shortage of mentors.

What does a Mentor do?

Anything. A mentor is another set of ears. He or she can offer advice or just listen without complaining or judging or being ‘too busy just now’. Issues mentors deal with include bullying and school avoidance, loneliness, domestic violence; and in the era of Covid there is the fear of illness and death. As lockdown eases the opportunities to meet increase and children and their mentors will be in a position to do just normal stuff again – have a cup of coffee and a chat, or go fishing.

Young people are supported through difficult periods and life transitions. With mentoring, children and young people have increased confidence and self-esteem. They are motivated and more likely to engage with education and employment opportunities. They develop positive activities, communication skills and relationships. 

GlobalGiving Covid-19 Relief Fund 

The Covid-19 Relief Fund was generous enough to support the campaign to raise funds to help children whose emotional and mental wellbeing was being damaged by Covid-19. The project received a grant of $5,000, which is £3,614.54. It costs £408 to train a mentor and this grant will enable Kids Inspire to train 9 mentors to support children and young people in this difficult era of Covid.

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A Message from Sue Bell, Clinical Director of Kids Inspire

“Thank you for your support towards Talk Together, a project we set up in response to the impact of COVID-19 and lockdown on mental health. It has already supported 2,194 children, young people and families. In a year filled with uncertainty and disruption you will make a real difference to the lives of children and young people across Essex, so thank you once again for your generosity.”

What You Have Achieved

The original fundraising target has been achieved! In addition, the importance of this work has been recognized by GlobalGiving and we were lucky enough to receive a grant from the Covid Disaster Fund, for which we are truly grateful. Thank you to everyone who has donated to this vital project.

By November 2020 child mental health referrals had increased by over 200%. In 2021 the need for therapeutic services continues to rise. Funds raised by this campaign have enabled the Talk Together Project to provide treatment plans to children and young people who need enhanced therapeutic support to maximise and sustain positive emotional outcomes.

We have now decided to raise our fundraising target in order to help provide another 30 video-link sessions to help children whose mental health has been adversely affected by Covid-19. GlobalGiving’s Little x Little campaign starts on the 4th of March and every donation under $50, or about £35, will benefit from a 50% bonus.

What Users Say

Parent: "Thank you. She always has a smile on her face when she finishes speaking with you. You've made a real difference in these difficult times."

Child: "Talking about my feelings doesn't feel scary anymore."

Young Person: "It's been so important to have someone outside of my family to talk to, who just gets it and doesn't judge me."

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Support and Hope

The New Normal

During the Covid-19 pandemic and consequent lockdown many children were trapped in environments which intensified emotional and mental health issues, suffering bereavement, worry about relatives and fear of the future. Now schools have re-opened pupils have returned to a new normal. Early research suggests that for most young people mental health has worsened since returning to school, and as predicted mental health services have experienced a sharp increase in referrals since September, jumping from 20 to 52 per week. 

Directly responding to feedback, Kids Inspire designed a support model where service users are offered bespoke face-to-face and/or remote support. Remote support through telephone or video links is particularly important as venues across Essex are closed or not admitting visitors. Service operating hours have also been extended to offer more evening sessions.

Case Studies

Susie is nine years old. She was having regular panic attacks, was refusing to eat as she feared that the food had germs and had an extreme fear of death and dying. The therapist has helped Susie to learn how to manage her anxious thoughts and is once again a happy care-free child. 

Six year old Ben was referred to Kids Inspire with anxiety exacerbated by Covid-19, he also sometimes became aggressive towards his parents. Although the initial referral was for the child, the parents became the focus of the work and they were supported as they put new structures and boundaries in place, which resulted in improved behaviour in Ben. 

Lilly, age 15, lost both grandmothers within 6 months of each other to Covid-19. Unable to process her grief she had constant pain and was unable to eat. All medical causes were ruled out and she saw a trauma therapist at Kids Inspire. After just the first session the symptoms lessened and she is now enjoying her recent return to school. 

Giving Tuesday: Please support our appeal by donating on 1st December for a share of $1M


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Project Leader:
Mike Jones
Benfleet, United Kingdom
$6,625 raised of $8,600 goal
131 donations
$1,975 to go
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