Donation Helps Raise Mental Health Awareness

A regional charity puts focus on mental health awareness amongst young people thanks to a donation from a local district councillor.

Cllr Stuart Lawson, local ward member for Kesgrave, donated £600 from his Enabling Communities Budget to help regional charity, Student Life, produce a new mental health awareness film for young people.

Richard Stewart, Chief Executive of Student Life, said: “The funding will be put towards the production and delivery of a remake of our very first mental health awareness film ‘Out of the Dark, Into the Light’. The original film was produced and shot at Kesgrave High School in 2018 and with Councillor Stuart Lawson’s valuable help, we aim to remake the film involving Film & Media students from the school once more. 

“The original film has been shown to over 12,000 young people across the southeast of England over the last 2 years and the time is now right to show how the young people involved in our in-house production company have improved our production techniques during this time.  Stuart has been a staunch supporter of Student Life since our first meetings in 2017 and we are ever grateful to him and East Suffolk Council”.

The donation will enable Student Life to remake its very first mental health awareness film and not only will students from Kesgrave High School benefit from being involved in the production, but the film will also help spread the mental health message to students from schools all over East Suffolk and beyond.

Cllr Stuart Lawson said: “I am a keen ambassador for mental health, especially in our young adults, and as we continue to deal with the ongoing challenges of Covid-19, it has never been more important to raise awareness of mental health and put an end to the stigma that often goes alongside it.

“Student Life is a charity that does a lot of great work with young people to address this and I am so pleased to be able to help fund the production of this film as it will help deliver an important message to all young people in our communities – it’s okay to not be okay!”

East Suffolk Council’s Enabling Communities Budgets support activities delivered by community, voluntary and social enterprise organisations.

In a response to Covid-19, all councillors allocated £1,000 from their 2020/21 Enabling Communities Budget towards a Covid-19 Hardship Fund. A further £45,000 was added to the fund from some budgets, though some councillors chose to donate directly to local groups.

This means a total of £306,000 has been allocated from the New Homes Bonus (funding generated through new houses built in the district) for 2020/21, giving each councillor a Enabling Communities Budget of either £5,500 or £6,500 to spend on community projects or to develop new projects in their ward to tackle local need.

Previous projects which have benefitted from Enabling Community Budget funding include play areas, village hall refurbishments and equipment, community events, projects supporting people with disabilities and the purchase of defibrillators.

Community groups wishing to apply for Enabling Community Budget funding should contact their district councillor or visit: www.eastsuffolk.gov.uk/enabling-communities-budgets

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