3 years of the Coalition
Celebrating 3 years of keeping children and young people safe and well
As we witness a continued prevalence of mental ill health for children and young people across the country, we wanted to take this moment to recognise the hard work of our brilliant grassroots charities and community groups in Norfolk to support our children and young people – and the work of the Sir Norman Lamb Coalition for Young People to support these local groups as it celebrates 3 years since being established by Sir Norman Lamb and Norfolk Community Foundation.
The Coalition was created following consultation with the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector in Norfolk to support organisations working with children and young people and in the field of mental health and wellbeing, autism and learning disabilities. By providing access to resources and opportunities, sharing good practice, raising the profile of the work that groups do, and linking up with larger countywide and national networks, the Coalition enables groups to rise up and respond to the issues facing our young people.
Bringing organisations together to develop and grow
The Coalition has continued to grow and develop in the last year, increasing its offer to member organisations with vital grant funding, training and other support and opportunities to the total value of over £1,000,000 since being established in 2020, supporting 50+ member organisations working with more than 10,000 young people across Norfolk.
Over the last year, a number of funding programmes have been offered to Coalition members including:
- The Sir Norman Lamb Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund, supporting activities enabling young people’s education, training and skills development opportunities, the provision of counselling services to young people and support for children and young people with SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities).
- The Supporting Positive Activity and Community Engagement (SPACE) Youth Fund, working with the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, Norfolk County Council, and the Norfolk Youth Advisory Boards to increase the numbers of young people engaging with positive youth activities in Norfolk and reduce levels of antisocial behaviour.
- The Healthy Yound Minds Fund, working with the Norfolk and Waveney Integrated Care Board, to cover the costs of community-based mental health interventions for young people, from counselling to creative arts or sports activities.
“Since joining the Coalition, we have a greater understanding of national and local context … We have been given knowledge that has impacted our practise with young people.”
– Member organisation
Members of the Coalition also have access to a series of free training opportunities to help develop and upskill staff. This year, these included:
- A session on ‘An Introduction to the Science of Childhood Adversity, Trauma & Resilience’ with Dr Warren Larkin, a nationally renowned speaker with 24 years experience in the NHS, including as Clinical Lead for the Government’s Department of Health Adverse Childhood Experiences programme
- Training on ‘Trauma Informed Community Approaches’ run by Trauma Informed Schools UK which acted as a valuable and practical workshop on supporting children and young people who have been affected by trauma
- A course run by Eating Matters on ‘Eating Disorders: Working with Children and Young People’, helping staff to know the signs to look for that a child or young person might be struggling with their relationship with food and their body and what to do as a result
Survey response from Coalition members on support received (May 2023)
Greater than the sum of its parts
Alongside access to funding and training opportunities, the Coalition often acts as the ‘go to’ place for other organisations and businesses who want to support local charities and the young people they work with in order to maximise their reach and ensure their support targets those most in need.
Earlier in the year, Norfolk County Council approached the Coalition with a surplus of laptops from the Government’s initiative during the pandemic to distribute laptops for young people in schools. Since the initial offer, 16 laptops have been given to local children and young people, with at least another 15 requests to process.
“When we gave her the laptop and explained that it was for her, she burst out crying and could not believe it was hers.”
– Member organisation who distributed a laptop
Building on a partnership established last year with Norwich City Football Club, Coalition members were recently offered free tickets to experience a match at Carrow Road. West Norfolk Carers, who support unpaid carers, was one of the local charities to take part in giving local young people this exciting opportunity, and, in particular for its young carers, a much needed respite from their caring responsibilities.
“I am pleased to tell you around 12 families took this offer up and around 46 young carers had a fantastic opportunity to go to watch the Norwich game. It was actually one young carer’s birthday and he stated that despite Norwich losing he had the best day ever. He loves football and he never thought he would be going for his birthday with all of his family. Thanks everyone who helped make theses memories for young carers.”
– Jackie Haverson, West Norfolk Carers
Involving young people
Young people’s involvement is key to the Coalition and whilst young people have always been involved in the grants decision making panel of the Sir Norman Lamb Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund supporting Coalition members, as part of the Coalition’s Flourish pledge, young people’s involvement was taken a step further by taking part in assessing the applications, joining visits to see first-hand the support provided by some of the groups, and helping to decide the grants awarded at the panel meeting.
The three youth panel members taking part were brilliant. They asked insightful questions and gave excellent feedback to help with the grant award decisions, with the other panel members really valuing their views and feedback.
Involvement in the grants assessment process was a personal challenge for all of the young people, but they were each prepared to push their boundaries and following the process fed back that they had enjoyed taking part, that it had increased their self-confidence and had gained new skills.
A number of young people from Coalition member organisations are also currently involved in helping to plan an event for next year to give young people a voice, celebrate and highlight the work of Coalition members, and for young people to have fun!
Feedback on young people’s involvement
As NHS Digital’s recently published report shows that one in five children and young people had a probable mental disorder in 2023, with the high levels of distress witnessed in the pandemic remaining, the Coalition’s role in supporting our local charities and community groups remains as important as ever.
The Coalition is committed to continuing to work with other funders and partners to ensure our children have a safe and trusted place to go where they can thrive, and the one to one support that prevents them from deteriorating into crisis at a time when mental health services continue to be under increasing pressure.
“When I left Parliament in 2019, I wanted to continue fighting passionately for the causes that mattered to me and support the brilliant voluntary and community activity happening in our county. I wanted 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. I am pleased to say that in that time, by working together, we have started to build a brighter future for all our young people, and something for our county for which we can all be proud.”
– Sir Norman Lamb