#BeeWell announces funding award from BBC Children in Need

Written by: Joe Stafford

Greater Manchester’s #BeeWell programme has entered a pioneering funding partnership with BBC Children in Need’s A Million & Me programme to champion youth voices and empower young people to make their wellbeing everybody’s business.

The programme supports innovative initiatives that can make a real difference to the emotional wellbeing of children, before emerging challenges require clinical intervention.

The new three-year funding award will further support young people to play a leading role in the response to the #BeeWell mental health and wellbeing survey– the largest of its kind in the country.

Young people will receive training in peer support and social prescribing, as well as support to run mental health campaigns in their schools. They will also have access to grant pots to commission activities that support mental health and wellbeing in their local area and give young people access to the arts, physical activity and green spaces.  

The innovative social prescribing pilot will be delivered in collaboration with the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership and trialled in 5 communities across the city region.

The BBC Children in Need grant will also fund a long-term evaluation of the programme to draw out key insights and share learning from the rollout of #BeeWell.

Finally, a new dedicated role will support creative, youth-led partnerships in Greater Manchester communities, working in particular with young people who are often excluded from the conversation around mental health and wellbeing.

#BeeWell is a £2m collaboration between the University of Manchester, the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and the Anna Freud Centre. The programme measures young people’s wellbeing on an annual basis and aims to bring about positive change in Greater Manchester’s communities as a result.

In the first survey window, #BeeWell heard the voices of almost 40,000 young people in Year 8 and 10 across Greater Manchester. Co-created by young people, #BeeWell has brought together a coalition of actors committed to acting on the findings and celebrating young people’s wellbeing.

Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, said: "I am so pleased to see #BeeWell go from strength to strength. If we want to set up young people to succeed then we need to understand how they feel about their prospects in our city-region. #BeeWell is all about providing us with that insight and amplifying young people’s voices, so they can tell us what matters to them."

This new funding partnership will enable us to develop and deepen that understanding, but also provide genuine opportunities for young people in Greater Manchester to lead positive change around mental health and wellbeing. We will be championing them every step of the way.

Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester

Paddy Sloan, Director of BBC Children in Need's A Million & Me programme, commented: "#BeeWell is an exciting action research project, sharing our ambition to increase the number of children experiencing good mental health. This award embodies the objectives of A Million & Me, and is an ambitious and innovative initiative that will lead to meaningful action across Greater Manchester, providing learning about positive youth-led and community-led change for children that will apply across the UK, at a time when it is most needed."

Callum, a #BeeWell Youth Advisor, said “As a young person who struggled with supporting their mental health myself, the newest #BeeWell pilot is a tremendous step in the right direction. Most funding for mental healthcare goes towards adults - it attempts to deal with the issues after they appear. Programs like this focus on preventing these problems before they become all-consuming. With youth representation at the heart of #BeeWell’s projects, I’m excited to say that young people will finally have a say in their own wellbeing, and it’ll most certainly be for the better."

David Gregson, Chair of the #BeeWell Advisory Board, said: “We’re delighted to be entering this exciting partnership with BBC Children in Need’s fantastic A Million & Me programme. By listening to the voices of all young people wherever they are, we intend to make their wellbeing everyone’s business. We look forward to working with A Million & Me to do just that.”

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