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Berkshire West wins additional government funding for children’s mental health pilot project

Children and young people in Wokingham schools will be given more mental health support after Berkshire West was awarded extra funding to extend the pilot of a new national scheme.

Last December, Berkshire West was selected by NHS England as one of 25 national trailblazers for the new, school-based, Mental Health Support Teams pilot, and the first set of funding was allocated to help children and young people in Reading and West Berkshire.

Initially for three years, this latest funding award of £360,000 a year will enable the project to run a dedicated Mental Health Support Team in Wokingham. The team will be made up of Wokingham Borough Council and NHS professionals who will work in schools and aim to directly help around 800 children and young people each year with their emotional and mental health. University of Reading will train the team and equip them with the skills to raise mental health awareness.

A number of schools will be invited to take part in the pilot, with work continuing as usual with all schools to support children with their mental health and wellbeing.
The project will be a partnership between Berkshire West Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Wokingham Borough Council and Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.

Katrina Anderson, Director of Joint Commissioning, Berkshire West CCG said: “The mental health of our children and young people is crucial, so I’m proud that we’ve been selected to receive additional funding to extend this pilot scheme to Wokingham. The funding recognises the great work that we’re already doing across West Berkshire to help children and young people deal with their mental health and wellbeing problems.

Cllr UllaKarin Clark, Executive Member for Children’s Services Wokingham Borough Council said: “We’re pleased that NHS England has recognised the crucial work that’s already taking place across Wokingham to support children and young people. This funding will supply a new dedicated team to build on this work and give vital support to more children, young people and their families.”

Louise Noble, Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Head of Specialist Mental Health Services for Children, Young People and Families, said: “Recognising signs that young people are developing difficulties and being able to provide early access to help for mental ill health is vitally important in preventing more serious difficulties from developing. This project enables us to work with young people and the professionals who are supporting them every day in schools, and will make a real difference to the emotional wellbeing and mental health of young people in Wokingham’.

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