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Anna Freud Centre receives funding support from Royal Foundation

The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge has invested nearly £1.8 million in supporting the frontline community and the nation’s mental health, through a bespoke fund which was set up as part of the organisation’s response to COVID-19.

The grants – made to ten leading charities, including the Anna Freud Centre, at the heart of mental health and frontline support – builds on the work that the Foundation has already done in recent months to support those on the frontline of the pandemic in the UK, and the mental health sector.

The investment received by the Anna Freud Centre will accelerate the development of our child mental health training packages to a digital learning platform, all of which were previously delivered face to face. The courses, aimed at professionals and the wider community, will include training to support COVID-19 issues including managing anxiety and trauma – and are much-needed in this unprecedented time. The grant will also support the development of additional materials required for schools as they start to reopen, as part of the Mentally Healthy Schools site.

Also as a result of The Royal Foundation’s COVID-19 grants, individual grief trauma counselling from Hospice UK will be available for all frontline workers and all 250,000 emergency responders across the UK will have access to peer-to-peer support, training and mental health resources from Mind’s Blue Light mental health support programme.

Earlier this week, The Duke and Duchess spoke to four representatives from organisations which will benefit from the fund, including two emergency responders and two mental health counsellors. They heard about the challenges facing organisations and how mental health support will be needed both for those working on the frontline and those delivering vital support to the nation.

Speaking to frontline workers and mental health counsellors earlier in the week, Our Patron, Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge, said:

“Over recent months we have all been in awe of the incredible work that frontline staff and emergency responders have been doing in response to COVID-19, but we know that for many of them, their families, and for thousands of others across the UK, the pandemic will have a lasting impact on their mental health.”

His Royal Highness The Duke of Cambridge added:

“It’s great to hear how The Royal Foundation is supporting you and many others to build resilience and give you the networks you need through its COVID-19 Response Fund, which will help ten leading charities continue their crucial work.”

Since the start of the pandemic, Their Royal Highnesses have brought together partners from across the mental health, frontline and bereavement sectors to understand for themselves the challenges faced by these sectors during COVID-19 and to identify what support was needed.

Peter Fonagy, Chief Executive of the Anna Freud Centre, says:

“We must be creative and brave if we are going to meet the rising demand for children’s mental health support. We need to develop new types of services and to provide communities with the skills they need to provide support for children and families, enabling professionals to work where they are most needed. Thanks to the generous assistance of The Royal Foundation, the Anna Freud Centre will be able to develop digital platforms which will enable us to provide non-professionals – as well as professionals – with evidence-based, effective interventions within their own communities so that they can help many more children and families than ever before.

“As we transition out of lockdown and learn more about the impact of the pandemic, this capacity to train people in their own communities and to provide children and their families with urgent help will be essential. This is a timely injection of much needed funding for an innovative approach to reaching the so-called hard-to-reach.”

To support the nation’s mental health during this time, but also in the months and years ahead, grants have also been given to mental health charities to increase their capacity for helpline and chat services to meet rising demand.  As a result:

  • Teachers, children and their parents will be supported through issues such as self-care and managing anxiety as schools re-open, thanks to training and resources from the Anna Freud Centre and Place2Be;
  • CALM will be able to respond to 2,300 more contacts each month;
  • Shout will be able to respond to 450 more text message conversations from people in crisis every month;
  • The Mix will expand their group chat service for young people to seven days per week; and
  • An additional 20,000 new mothers will be supported by Best Beginnings, thanks to a community mental health training project to reach pregnant women and new parents.

The funding will also allow the Heads Together charity partners, of which the Anna Freud Centre is one, to work together on campaigning activity to directly address the nation’s mental health as the population adjusts to life after COVID-19.

The Royal Foundation’s COVID-19 Response Fund is The Royal Foundation’s first crisis response fund and reinforces The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s ongoing commitment to the frontline community and the nation’s mental health – two of the areas that will continue to feel the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in the months and years ahead.