‘Delight’ after Bucks youth counselling service wins a stay of execution

Melanie Williams, Chris Cartwright, Ceri Phillips and Lin Short
Melanie Williams, Chris Cartwright, Ceri Phillips and Lin Short

Youth counselling chiefs have spoken of their ‘delight’ after it was granted a stay of execution by Bucks County Council.

Adviza, a charity that supports vulnerable young people across the Thames Valley, has commended the authority’s decision to maintain funds for a youth counselling service that helps 2,000 young people each year cope with serious mental health issues such as suicidal thoughts and self-harm.

Councillor Zahir Mohammed, cabinet member for education and skills, last week succeeded in securing transitional funds from BCC for the Time To Talk programme, with £270,000 for 2016/17.

He said: “The financial challenges facing the council had made it impossible to fund the programme through its core budget, but officers worked hard to find alternative sources.

“The transitional funding has enabled us to smooth our financial support on a reducing basis until 2019, and we’ll continue to work with Adviza to help them find sustainable income sources.”

The funds for the service, which includes Aylesbury-based Connexions, will be reduced over three years.

Katharine Horler, Adviza’s chief executive, says charities like Adviza across the country have to invest more and more time and effort into finding alternative income streams.

“It’s a difficult task as we are often up against many others bidding for the same pot of money.

“Our charity helps young people who find it difficult to transition from school into further education, training or work, many of whom experience significant mental health issues.

“All the evidence shows that being engaged in work or learning is a hugely protective factor and avoids the need for more intensive support and intervention further down the line.”