Last night, Councillor Tracey Huffer announced an important project to help young people with mental health and wellbeing issues in the Ludlow area. For some time, we have been saying that if no one else will help our town, we must help ourselves.
Ludlow Young Health is a project run by Ludlow Youth Partnership with the Children’s Society. Its initial aims are to provide informal drop-in advice sessions for young people (aged 0-25). We are the first market town in Shropshire to fund our own project with the Children’s Society. We are on a steep learning curve. But we have hopes that we can expand the project in the future. We are thinking big.
The project builds on the Children’s Society’s Beam projects currently underway in Shrewsbury and Wellington and will run under the Beam brand. In Ludlow, the sessions will initially run fortnightly. Young people dropping in will be able to speak to trained professionals and volunteers in a completely confidential setting. Funding is in place for the first year.
Ludlow Young Health is funded by Ludlow Town Council, Ludlow Mayor’s Charity, Ludlow Rotary, Shropshire Council and South Shropshire Housing Association. It is managed by Ludlow Youth Partnership, supported by Young Shropshire in Work, Shropshire Council’s Community Enablement Team and the Ludlow and Clee Local Joint Committee.
Tracey Huffer is chair of Ludlow Youth Partnership and Shropshire Councillor for Ludlow East. She said:
“This is the most important project for young people in this area since the Ludlow Youth Centre was built two decades ago. It breaks new ground.
“It is really difficult for young people to get access to mental health and wellbeing support in a small town like Ludlow. It can take weeks even months for a referral to the county’s Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS). Young people are often referred to Shrewsbury but many can’t or won’t travel that far. We need a service on our doorstep.
“That is what we are launching in February. It will be an informal service that aims to help young people with depression, and those that have issues with sexual identity, bullying or substance abuse. We’ll be working with schools, local GPs and volunteer groups to ensure that young people get access to the mental health and wellbeing services they need.
“Our aim is not to provide treatment but to ensure that young people understand how to access the help and advice that is available. It will be practical and therapeutic. We want to improve young people’s emotional wellbeing.”
Rob Willoughby, Area Director for the Children’s Society, said:
“The new mental health and emotional health drop in service in Ludlow working one afternoon a fortnight will give families and young people in the Ludlow area an opportunity to get immediate support for a young person.
“The service, called Shropshire Beam is run by the Children’s Society. It is part of the BeeU service working across Shropshire and will mean that young people can get help, no need for a referral, no need to wait for support. The Children’s Society is pleased to be working with Ludlow Youth Partnership to develop this new service.”
Tim Gill is the Mayor of Ludlow and has been raising funds through a series of events. He said:
“I would like to express my support and delight that we have been able to develop a mental health drop in service for the young people in Ludlow. As we are all aware, the services for mental health for all ages is woefully inadequate, almost non-existent, in Ludlow.
“The drop-in service delivered by the Children’s Society in Ludlow starting in February 2019 will offer an open and accessible approach to providing therapeutic support. The sessions are drop-in to ensure we are as accessible as possible to the most vulnerable members of our society. We must thank our local sponsors who without their support this service would not be possible. I am pleased to be able to support this cause through my Mayor’s Charity Appeal this year.”
South Shropshire Housing Association is part of the Connexus Group. Helen Vaughan said:
“Though working closely within our communities, we have seen a dramatic increase in the need for support for individuals with mental health needs. This has also increased within the younger generation. We are so pleased to be supporting this service within Ludlow.”