Over £150k donated to Scottish youth charities following STV Children’s Appeal mental health drive

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.

Thanks to the generosity of fundraisers, donors and STV viewers:

  • 46 projects have received awards to the value of £2,000, 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.

Lockdown impact on mental health highlighted

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.

Removing barriers for Scotland’s young people

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 Inverclyde-based Mind Mosaic Child and Family Therapies, which has received a £15k 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.”

Steve Earl, Chair of Edinburgh-based Wellspring, said:

“We are delighted that the STV Children’s Appeal has awarded this grant, which will allow us to help children and young people who experience poverty and suffer from mental health issues, and will ensure emotional support sits at the heart of the community.

“The children and young people we work with are further compounded by living in economically-challenging situations. This money will support us in continuing to enable them to express their distress in a safe, confidential environment, and to learn to find ways to build resilience to enable them to manage their life situations.”

Funding awarded