By Daniel Wood
Kirklees Council has decided to allocate £1m to be spent on supporting the mental health and well-being of children in the borough who have struggled during lockdown.
As schools re-open, £120,000 has been set aside for children that live in the areas of Cleckheaton, Heckmondwike, Liversedge and Gomersal, and Mirfield.
The Spen Place Partnership will manage the cash, and veteran Lib Dem councillor, Andrew Pinnock, will lead it.
The Spen Place partnership has invited 28 schools in the area to submit proposals.
Children who have experienced anxieties, bereavement, a change in family circumstances such as relationship strain, or loss of employment in the family are being targeted with the money.
It is hoped that the support given to children and young people will benefit them greatly as they settle back into the educational setting, as well as easing the troubles that the children may have had due to the restrictions in place in the UK due to Covid-19.
Young people’s mental health had been heavily impacted during the virus outbreak, according to Cllr Cathy Scott, the council’s Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Housing and Democracy.
This was outlined in proposing the spending for approval.
She said: “Welcoming schools to submit their proposals will be far more reaching and will ensure the young people receive the much-needed support or resources needed.”
The support for the programme was not only supported by one political party, as it has crossed over a number of parties.
Lib Dem group leader Cllr John Lawson (Cleckheaton) suggested that the project could be linked to the work of the NHS’s Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) in schools.
Conservative group leader Cllr David Hall (Liversedge and Gomersal) said he hoped the funding would last several months and suggested it might cover peer help, mentoring or even clinical treatment for children that needed it.
This is a huge step forward for repairing the damage caused by the coronavirus and with the new focus and funding towards the mental health of children is a good sign for the future.