WHERE DO YOUR DONATIONS GO?
We have been overwhelmed by the extraordinary generosity of so very many people. We would like to thank you all for your kindness, empathy and support, and commit to use these funds efficiently and effectively in addressing the two specific objectives of the Sam West Foundation:
To promote awareness, diagnosis and treatment of mental health issues affecting children and young adults and their families.
To advance the education of teenagers in music and art, two subjects Sam particularly enjoyed.
We recognise these are very large challenges, which are being addressed by statutory bodies as well as many other charitable organisations.
We will adopt a proactive approach towards choosing the initiatives and partners to support. We will seek to collaborate with other charitable foundations with shared goals and evidence that they have achieved positive outcomes. We will not support unsolicited requests or proposals.
We appreciate that as a new Foundation, we have much to learn as to how best we can achieve our objectives. Initially we will start by supporting only a limited number of initiatives, as this will allow us to both respond to immediate opportunities as well as develop our own knowledge and networks.
ACTIVITIES TO BE SUPPORTED IN 2018/2019
We will support three activities in Mid-Kent, allowing us to draw on our existing links to other people and organisations in this region. We will deploy funds from the Foundation, together with a grant from Kent County Council, towards these activities.
TRAINING A CADRE OF MENTAL HEALTH FIRST AIDERS
Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is an internationally recognised training course, designed to teach people how to spot the signs and symptoms of mental ill health and provide help on a first aid basis. MHFA courses can be attended by people aged 16 upwards and are relevant for both specialists (such as teachers and doctors) as well as non-specialists (such as parents and young adults). People attending the 2 day MHFA course are taught a set of skills enabling them to identify and support someone experiencing mental health issues.
The Foundation will support four courses in 2018-19, training an additional 64 Mental Health First Aiders in Mid-Kent. Each course will be delivered by a quality assured instructor, accredited by MFHA England.
IN-SCHOOL MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT
While MHFA training will help identify children at risk, there is also a need for in-school support. Based on our discussions with other charities, we believe this support needs to be provided within state primary schools in Kent, targetting both children in Years 3-6 as well as teachers and parents/carers. We will seek to pilot this support initially with a small number primary schools. Based on a partnership with other charities and school, our support will contribute towards running an accredited Mental Health Champions programme that adopts a whole-school approach to mental health and wellbeing, developing strategy and creating systems of support, and funding the provision of trained personnel delivering a range of support services within each selected primary school, including individual and group counselling, therapeutic support, as well as training and advice.
ADVANCING THE EDUCATION OF TEENAGERS IN MUSIC AND ART
People are at their most creative during adolescence. Music and art can be very therapeutic, promoting self-esteem, confidence and self-expression. With school budgets being tightened, these subjects are sometimes not available to students. We hope to work with Schools and communities to enable music and art to be accessible to a wider number of young people. We will do this through supporting existing projects with materials and equipment or supporting new projects.
We will closely monitor and report the effectiveness of these initiatives as part of developing a longer-term strategy for the Foundation.