I am pleased to announce, together with my colleague, the Under-Secretary of State for Education, the hon. Member for Crewe and Nantwich (Mr Timpson), the Minister responsible for children and families, that today we are publishing the results of the National Prospectus grants competition to fund voluntary organisations working with children and their families.
After a highly competitive application process we have chosen 94 projects that I believe will have a significant impact on children’s lives. This represents an investment of almost £25 million in 2015-16 across seven key priority areas. The money will be spread between organisations specialising in adoption, children in care, early education and child care, family advice and support, mental health, safeguarding and special educational needs and disabilities. The grants are additional to existing Government funding that supports these areas.
For the first time we identified mental health as a theme in the National Prospectus. I am very pleased to say that we received a number of high-quality bids under this theme, and will be funding 17 projects worth almost £5 million in total.
These projects will help children and young people, from the early years through to those making the transition to adulthood. We are also continuing to provide funding to the Young Minds helpline for parents worried about the emotional problems, behaviour or mental health of their children. Support will be given in a number of different ways including face-to-face, peer support, by telephone, online and through apps. They will also help specific groups of children who face particular issues: those who have suffered brain injury; homeless young people; bereaved children; and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender young people.
Many of these projects will make vital links to schools. To support this, we are today also issuing two pieces of guidance which will help schools to make themselves places where mental health issues can be learned about and discussed openly and safely, and where effective early support is given for mental health issues through high-quality counselling.
We have funded the Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) Association to produce guidance that will help schools provide age-appropriate teaching on mental health problems from anxiety and depression to eating disorders and self-harm. This will be supplemented by specific lesson plans over the coming months so that schools can use them to plan for teaching from September.
We are also providing a new blue-print for schools on counselling services––developed in conjunction with experts in the field––which provides head teachers with practical advice on how to secure high-quality school based counselling services that meet the needs of those it intends to support.
A list of all the organisations receiving funding through the National Prospectus grants are available online at: http://www.parliament.uk/writtenstatements.