Posted 6th November 2019
The Bridge Foundation is a non-profit organisation; at the heart of everything we do is our vision – “a future where every person can feel secure about who they are and relate to others as fully and honestly as possible”. We work to support the life chances of highly vulnerable children through improving their mental health, giving real options for people to have a genuinely positive impact with your money at a local community level.
We have a fee-paying counselling and psychotherapy service in which we support children, young people and whole families. We also offer charitable work – Bridge in Schools, which is a specialist mental health service. It is currently delivered in 25 schools, in some of the most disadvantaged communities across Bristol, South Gloucestershire and BaNES, making real, sustainable, positive changes to people’s lives. The service would not be possible without the income we generate from fundraising, for which we are especially grateful.
Children’s mental health has been headline news for some years now. Theresa May’s comments in January 2017, stating that ‘schools should be given a greater role in tackling mental health problems’ have turned the spotlight onto the mental health challenges that so many children and young people face and how little awareness and support there is available.
Since that statement, we have witnessed teachers’ roles expand to take on greater responsibilities for assessing and supporting children’s mental health, yet with insufficient or no additional training budget or support for the increased responsibilities expected of them. Reporting in the Times Educational Supplement:
- Four in five schools will be financially worse off in 2019 than they were in 2015 despite government promises of a multibillion-pound funding boost
- One quarter of teachers currently work 60 hours or more a week
- One fifth of teachers leave the profession within their first five years
For children, the mental health picture is also more challenging, as the first NHS study since 2004 confirms:
- Mental health difficulties for younger children have increased by 23%
- Emotional disorders up 71% and conduct disorders have risen by 12%
- One in eight 5-19 year olds had a diagnosed mental health disorder, an increase from one in 10
- Just 25% of children with a mental health condition are currently supported by mental health services
With so many reasons to support positive action on children’s mental health, it could be easily assumed it would be easy to fundraise for the work we deliver and The Bridge Foundation is indeed in a very fortunate position. A core of committed and generous Charitable Trusts and Foundations support the most vulnerable children, visit our website for details of some of our committed supporters.
What we do
We are delighted and proud to be able to invite our local community to a rolling programme of events that focuses on our area of work – psychoanalytic theory, and the events provide a forum for reflection and discussion of clinical issues.
We have an established and close partnership with ‘Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory’ (stf). Each year we hold a joint conference that addresses one of the plays in their current season. This year we put on a conference in collaboration with stf’s production of Much Ado About Nothing with psychotherapist Jane Cheshire (a Bridge Foundation Trustee) and members of the cast. The event was held on Saturday 2nd November 2019 and was a huge success.
We also host Clinical Conferences and Lectures annually, along with music concerts, tea dances and barn dances to name a few. Our next clinical conference is entitled Grief and will be held at the Watershed on Saturday 16th May – further details here. Bands and choirs have also held events to fundraise for our charitable work. Recently these have included the Phoenix Choir, Bristol Concert Wind Band and Barley Rye Choir.
We were delighted to be a local recipient charity for the Co-op Community Fund and to-date our supporters have helped us to raise a wonderful £2,596. We were also thrilled to be selected by the local, 91st Scout Troup, based in Horfield, as a recipient charity. The Scouts, through the A Million Hands Community Impact Initiative, learned the importance of protecting mental health for themselves, the people they care for and in their wider community. They collectively walked 500 miles to raise an amazing £1,000 in sponsorship for the Bridge in Schools team; this money will go will go towards supporting vulnerable children who are struggling with their mental health. Here’s a picture of Cathy Benjamin, the Chair of The Bridge Foundation receiving the cheque from the Scouts in last month.
How you can help…
There are lots of ways The Bridge Foundation needs your support. You may:
- know of or be involved in a local Charitable Trust that seeks to support vulnerable children that you can introduce us to
- yourself be looking to set up a regular donation to a local charity that you can build a real connection with and feel you are making a difference
- work for a local business that would like to have a charity of the year
- be considering leaving a legacy that will support the futures of children
- alongside your colleagues, want to get involved in a Corporate Social Responsibility programme where you give some of your time to help a charity that supports vulnerable children locally
- like the idea of running a fundraising event for The Bridge Foundation
- have some time on your hands and some skills to bring to our trustee board
If any of these ideas, or something completely different, appeal to you, please get in touch – THANK YOU!
Thanks to Mike Zywina at Lime Green Consulting for up-to-date voluntary sector data and thank you to all those who have helped raise funds for The Bridge Foundation.