e-wellbeing (YMCA DownsLink Group)

E-wellbeing is an NHS approved digital wellbeing service supporting the emotional health and mental wellbeing of young people: www.e-wellbeing.co.uk. It was launched at the height of the pandemic to help young people receive access to the support they needed when they needed it.  

E-wellbeing works with young people to co-create mental health content and provide services and resources, including videos of young people talking about their mental health to help reduce stigma, a psychoeducational ‘feelings’ modules to normalise different mental health conditions, and an easily accessible quiz to identify how best to support emotional wellbeing.  

The E-wellbeing team are passionate about raising awareness of young people’s mental health through youth voices and social impact. Since its launch in June 2020, the E-wellbeing website has had more than 14,000 site visitors and over 50,000 page views from young people, parents, carers and professionals. A specific search function on the platform which guides local young people in Sussex to find mental health services has been used by more than 3,000 young people.    

Last summer, E-wellbeing launched a Back to School campaign to support the transition back to the classroom after the first lockdown. This attracted local and national media coverage with an outdoor advertising campaign and a mention in the Director of Public Health for Brighton and Hove City Council’s letter to all schools across the region.  

And this is only the beginning for E-wellbeing. It is more than just an NHS approved website; it is a movement for social change, striving to put the mental health and wellbeing of young people at the heart of everything.  

This is Derby (YMCA Derbyshire)

Over the past 12 months, YMCA Derbyshire’s Health and Wellbeing team, along with two other local organisations, have been running a project to engage and empower young people. ‘This is Derby’ combines expertise from a variety of areas, offering young people the chance to experience things they may never have dreamed of while providing a space to be themselves without pressure. 

The structure works by YMCA bringing the project together and offering advice and guidance, while Derby County offers the chance to learn about the physical and mental advantages of exercise (on a real football pitch), and Baby People provide access to high-tech music studio.  

Even at the height of lockdown when services were forced online, 284 sessions were made available for young people, with activities ranging from football quizzes to lyric writing and DJ sessions.  

‘This is Derby’ believe that by supporting and guiding young people to succeed, they feel empowered to move forward and get excited about their future. The project aims to use the power of sport, arts and cultural activities to give young people the stepping stone they need to lead happy and fulfilling lives.


WAVES (Wellbeing, Awareness & Voice for East Surrey) is a youth group with a difference. Run for young people by young people; WAVES aims to raise awareness of emotional health and wellbeing by providing a safe space for young people aged 13-19 to talk openly.

Young people at WAVES have promoted awareness of mental health by creating public artwork and talking to their local MPs about how to support young people and families better. Several young people have also trained as Mental Health Champions to support peers in their schools and colleges.   

During lockdown, young people quickly decided alongside youth workers to keep WAVES going. Daily online sessions were run with positive wellbeing activities, giving young people an outlet to talk about what was going on and to socialise with friends.  

Many young people reported that the support they normally received from school dropped during the first part of lockdown, which was reflected in the 27 new referrals submitted to WAVES during that time, with their youth workers helping to fill the gap.  

This resulted in the WAVES community growing online, and soon young people were joining from further afield, such as inner London and Croydon. The WAVES team also made sure that multiple members got access to the resources and technology needed to keep them connected from home.  

The focus moving forwards is on supporting young people who are worried about going back into public life by providing safe face-to-face group sessions again, alongside their online programme.

2021 Youth Matters Awards Finalists