The STV Children’s Appeal has distributed £152,000 to 50 projects throughout Scotland following a recent campaign to support the mental health and wellbeing of young people across the country.
The campaign was launched in May in response to concerns among the appeal’s charity partners over the damaging lasting effect of the Covid-19 pandemic on young minds.
For the one in four children living in poverty in Scotland, the impact has been acutely felt.
Forty-six projects have received awards to the value of £2000, which will be used to provide children and young people with opportunities to improve their mental health through counselling sessions, peer support groups and leisure activities.
The remaining four projects – based in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Greenock and Perth – all focus specifically on child counselling and have received special funding awards to the value of £15,000 each.
Starting in mid-May, the STV Children’s Appeal ran regular adverts on STV’s broadcast channel and social media platforms which highlighted the impact of a year of lockdowns on youth mental health and encouraged donations from viewers to support the recovery phase.
The campaign received celebrity backing from a number of famous Scots including James McAvoy, Gail Porter and Douglas Stuart, with the latter recording a video message in which he recounted his own experience as a child living in poverty in Scotland.
Simon Pitts, chief executive of STV and STV Children’s Appeal trustee, said: “Now more than ever, it’s crucial that Scotland’s young people are provided with opportunities to feel engaged, connected and, most importantly, hopeful.
“Many of our charity partners find that, even when the opportunities exist, some children still face barriers to accessing them.
“That’s what we hope to change with these grants and I’m delighted that every penny donated by our generous viewers has already been distributed to charities across the length and breadth of the country.”
Sandra Boyle, director of Mind Mosaic Child and Family Therapies in Greenock, which has received a £15,000 grant, said: “We’re extremely grateful to the STV Children’s Appeal for this fantastic donation.
“The money will provide much-needed mental health support to a growing number of children and young people in Inverclyde affected during lockdown by anxiety, trauma, self-harming, suicidal thoughts, grief and loss, poor self-esteem, domestic violence, and the challenges of being a young carer.
“Our specialist play therapy and young people’s counselling will help them make sense of their world, and heal and recover as they make their way back to an improved daily life and wellbeing.”