Burnham-On-Sea mental health support charity In Charley’s Memory has held a robbon-cutting ceremony to unveil new expanded facilities following a major funding boost of £390,000 from National Lottery Community Fund.

Dozens of local people gathered at the charity’s building in Brue Way, Highbridge on Friday (July 8th) for the opening of eight new counselling rooms, a staff area and meeting space.

The counselling-focused charity was set up by Charley’s mum Jo, after her son, a Burnham teenager, took his own life.

The charity says the grant funding, which was announced last October, is enabling it to quadruple the capacity of its busy counselling service for young people.

Dawn Carey, Operations Manager at In Charley’s Memory, told Burnham-On-Sea.com: “We’re delighted to unveil eight new counselling rooms that have been paid for by the National Lottery, but this is also about so much more than just the new rooms.”

“This funding means is that over the next five years we can support 400 people a week for one-to-one counselling. Before the new rooms were built we were able to support a maximum of 130 people a week, so this is going to have a massive impact in helping people in need in Burnham and Highbridge.”

“I honestly cried when I found out we’d got the funding because this is going to have such a huge positive impact. I’ve been part of ICM from day one – I know the tragedy and the emotion that was around when Charley first passed. To see what’s happened is just phenomenal.”

“It’s so emotional because we all work so hard for this. We are so passionate about supporting young people and it’s emotional to see the charity growing. ICM will always be a local charity, a grassroots organisation, and the people of Burnham and Highbridge and the surrounding area have been so supportive along the way.”

“There has been a big increase in demand for the service we offer, particularly after the last couple of years. We have seen huge demand and we also do a lot of work to raise awareness about mental health in young people.”

“We do a lot of work to try and help young people understand that you don’t have to feel like this – there’s nothing wrong with saying ‘I’m really struggling at the moment’ and to reach our for help.”

In recent years, ICM has been helping hundreds of young people in Burnham-On-Sea and Highbridge, Weston-super-Mare and Bridgwater.

Determined to help other parents and young people like her child and to ensure ‘there can be no more Charley’s’, it has since been providing one-to-one counselling sessions, school outreach programmes, and peer support networks to combat suicide in young adults.


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