Sir Norman Lamb and Norfolk Community Foundation have established an innovative Coalition of Norfolk-based VCSE organisations working with children and young people to help strengthen their existing services and encourage and promote innovation to enrich our children and young people’s lives.
The Sir Norman Lamb Coalition for Young People follows Sir Norman establishing a Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund with Norfolk Community Foundation last year, continuing his commitment and passion as an MP to fight for better standards and care for children and young people with mental ill health, learning disabilities and autism. As MP for North Norfolk, Sir Norman had highlighted long waiting times in the region for children and young people to access statutory support and, recognising the value of community groups and charities, set up the Fund to support them in the vital work that they do.
Sir Norman and the Foundation had previously convened a youth mental health summit in June bringing together local community organisations and Norfolk’s Chief Constable, Simon Bailey, to look at the psychological impact of Covid-19 and lockdown on children, teenagers and young people. This followed data produced by Kooth, an online counselling service commissioned earlier this year by the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust for 11 to 25-year-olds, which had shown in the East of England during the first lockdown a marked rise in concerns about domestic abuse, child abuse, eating issues and struggles with body image, and the greatest increase nationally in sadness, anxiety about returning to school or college and young people with autism or Asperger’s seeking support.
The Coalition held its virtual launch event on Monday 30th November, bringing together nearly 40 organisations which it aims to support by providing access to shared resources and opportunities, including for unique funding and training, sharing good practice, raising the profile of the work groups do and linking up with larger countywide and national networks. Sir Norman and the Foundation had worked with local charities ahead of the Coalition being established to identify what they needed to develop and grow their services, which helped to shape the offer of support being provided.
Alongside launching the Coalition on Monday, Sir Norman and the Foundation opened up for members of the Coalition grant applications to access funding from their Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund to help strengthen and enhance existing open access youth work drop-ins as well as youth groups who provide specialist youth work opportunities, such as for young people with disabilities, autism and those from a BAME background.
Sir Norman said: “This Coalition is a chance for Norfolk to be an exemplar, demonstrating to the rest of the country how we can be innovative in providing better community support, working together to share best practice and strengthen the existing provision, which is all needed now, more than ever, in the aftermath of Covid-19. Together, we can build a brighter future for all our young people, and something for our county for which we can all be proud.”
Claire Cullens, CEO of Norfolk Community Foundation, said: “We are delighted to help bring together charities and community groups of all shapes and sizes to establish this new and exciting Coalition, continuing our commitment to support our fantastic frontline charities who are uniquely placed to help give children and young people the best start in life.”
If you are a Norfolk-based VCSE organisation working with children and young people and are interested in becoming a member of the Sir Norman Lamb Coalition for Young People, please contact Cindee Crehan at Norfolk Community Foundation on 01603 623958 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How people can help
Contributions to the Sir Norman Lamb Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund, no matter how small, will help support the work of charities and voluntary groups in the Coalition. People can donate online at www.norfolkfoundation.com/giving-philanthropy/mental-health or alternatively send a cheque made payable to Norfolk Community Foundation (referencing the Sir Norman Lamb Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund) to Norfolk Community Foundation, St. James Mill, Whitefriars, Norwich, NR3 1TN.