YMCA has officially launched Y’s Girls, a programme specifically developed to offer help and support to young women and girls at risk of developing mental health issues, and they are calling on the community to get involved.
Working with social workers, schools and local police, Y’s Girls will connect vulnerable young women aged nine to 14 with mentors from a range of different backgrounds across the UK to offer support and positively influence their lives.
The programme will take on a youth work approach by providing proactive and preventative intervention to young women and girls seen as most at risk of developing mental health issues, with mentors being recruited and trained by local YMCAs.
Mentors will regularly meet up with their mentee over a 12 month period offering an informal environment with the opportunity to discuss anything that might be worrying them, from family and personal relationships to lifestyle and education.
Denise Hatton, Chief Executive of YMCA England & Wales, said:
“We’re absolutely delighted to be launching this vital mentorship and support programme to vulnerable young women and girls in 10 different locations across the UK, and would love to hear from anyone locally who is keen to get involved.
“With one-in-six children aged 5-16 now identified as having a probable mental disorder, an increase from one-in-nine just three years ago, we are all too aware that mental health issues among this age range are rising dramatically*. The chance to offer that much needed time and support at such a critical stage is invaluable.
“The additional pressures of the pandemic, coupled with consistent and damaging cuts to youth services over the last decade, have left many young people isolated and without essential support. Projects like Y’s Girls provide a much-needed bridge within our youth work, helping to reach vulnerable young women and girls in their time of need.”
Y’s Girls has been made possible by generous funding from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) Tampon Tax Fund and the Garfield Weston Foundation. The project aims to establish 250 mentoring relationships within 10 YMCAs based across the UK from April 2021 until July 2022.
Participating YMCAs include YMCA North Tyneside, YMCA East Surrey, YMCA Black Country Group, YMCA Bradford, YMCA Nottinghamshire, Southend YMCA, YMCA DownsLink Group, YMCA Cardiff, YMCA Tayside and YMCA Lisburn.
YMCA England & Wales is made up of 101 member YMCAs working to ensure young people have opportunities to thrive and contribute positively to their communities. These YMCAs connect almost 72,000 young people with someone to talk to or a helping hand, offering specialist guidance and practical skills to best equip them to overcome whatever challenges they may face.
For more information on Y’s Girls or to find out about mentor opportunities, please visit www.ymca.org.uk/ys-girls.
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For more information or interview requests, please contact Aimee Reilly in the YMCA England & Wales Press Office on email@example.com or 078636 20084.
Notes to Editors
*Findings from NHS Digital, October 2020