Leading children’s charity Action for Children and transport group FirstGroup announced today that they have reached their £1 million partnership target just over a year into a three-year project. The funds raised provide mental health support for vulnerable and disadvantaged children across the UK. FirstGroup colleagues cycled, skipped, baked and even sky-dived to fundraise for Action for Children, in addition to corporate donations and the commercial value of gift in kind advertising space on FirstGroup’s bus and rail networks helping to meet the target.
With one in eight children suffering from a diagnosable mental health issue, early intervention is essential and FirstGroup’s fundraising has enabled the charity to fund a mental health practitioner working directly with families at Action for Children’s services. Since the partnership launched in April 2018, over 240 hours’ worth of intervention programmes have helped families and 139 Action for Children staff have received training to help those children and families they see struggling with mental health problems.
Matthew Gregory, Chief Executive, FirstGroup:
“FirstGroup is incredibly pleased to support Action for Children in helping young people on their journey to better mental health. We are really proud that thanks to the efforts of FirstGroup employees and the impact of the gifts in kind we have donated, we have already reached a partnership value in excess of £1m and we look forward to supporting Action for Children through a further two years of our partnership.”
Julie Bentley, Chief Executive, Action for Children:
‘We are incredibly grateful to all FirstGroup colleagues for making the first year of our partnership such an outstanding success. FirstGroup colleagues’ passion and commitment to helping young children and young people on their journey to better mental health is so encouraging for us at Action for Children and their support is ensuring we can continue to provide essential mental health support to children who desperately need our help.’
Charlotte Lowe, Mental Health Practitioner, Action for Children:
‘The families we support have often experienced numerous traumas in their lives and have previously struggled to engage with professionals or access specialist services. It is essential to teach young people practical tools and coping strategies to manage their own mental health. To maximise our impact, existing Action for Children staff have also been upskilled in working with young people with mental health issues to enable them to provide support that is vital now more than ever.’
FirstGroup colleagues have been so committed to the cause that one even became a world record breaker. GWR employee Simon Ashton hosted a Skipathon at Plymouth Station last October breaking the record for the most number of skips in 12 hours (79,023) and raising over £1,500 at the same time!