Burnham-On-Sea mental health support charity In Charley’s Memory is celebrating receiving a major funding boost of £390,000 from The National Lottery Community Fund.

The grant will enable the charity to quadruple the capacity of its busy counselling service – from seeing 109 young people a week, with a long waiting list, to more than 400.

The money will be used to build eight more counselling rooms, a staff area, and meeting space, giving the counsellors and volunteers private rooms to talk to young people and unwind between appointments.

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

Charley Marks

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.

Dawn Carey, Operations Manager at In Charley’s Memory, is keen to emphasise the impact this funding will have on their organisation and the young people they help.

She told Burnham-On-Sea.com: “We are absolutely over the moon to receive the support of the National Lottery. Over the last seven years we have had to move office several times due to reaching capacity. This is a massive lifeline.”

“This really is a mental health pandemic. Worse than most people will ever realise. We really need the outstanding community support that we have had to continue to be able to help all the growing numbers of young people in need.”

In Charley's Memory Burnham-On-Sea

She adds: “Covid has had a huge impact on the younger generation, and we are seeing much higher levels of anxiety and depression come through our doors. Thanks to National Lottery players, these additional rooms will allow us to get to people before they reach crisis.”

“As a friend of Charley’s mum, I saw what he and his family went through and we don’t want anyone else to have to go through that. This money will save lives. It is as black and white as that.”

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

In Charley’s Memory is one of 177 charities and community groups across the South West to have been awarded more than £5 million of National Lottery funding in the past quarter, supporting them to overcome social and economic challenges raised by the pandemic.

National Lottery Community Fund

The South West isn’t alone in benefiting from National Lottery funding. It was announced  this week that almost £65 million has been distributed to over 1,700 community organisations across England in the past three months.

Rowan Miller, Head of Funding for the South West at The National Lottery Community Fund, adds: “Thanks to National Lottery players, this funding is having a much needed positive impact on people’s lives across the South West. It’s inspiring to see dedicated volunteers and groups, like In Charley’s Memory, giving vital support to people that need it. This funding has given a cash boost to communities, so they can build and emerge stronger from the pandemic.”

The National Lottery Community Fund distributes money raised by National Lottery players for good causes. Thanks to National Lottery players, last year we awarded over half a billion pounds (£588.2 million) of life-changing funding to communities across the UK. Over eight in ten (83%) of our grants are for under £10,000 – going to grassroots groups and charities across the UK that are bringing to life amazing ideas that matter to their communities.

Pictured: Top, the charity’s Dawn Carey at Highbridge’s King Alfred School (photo Shane Dean); Charley Marks; and several of the charity’s team 

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