Axminster Project may go nationwide

PUBLISHED: 07:00 12 January 2017 | UPDATED: 08:50 23 January 2017

MP Neil Parish and Debbie Humberstone, founder of The Project. Picture: SUBMITTED

MP Neil Parish and Debbie Humberstone, founder of The Project. Picture: SUBMITTED


A pioneering Axminster-based charity that helps youngsters with emotional problems could become a model for similar schemes across the country.

And local MP Neil Parish is to suggest the idea to Parliament.

He pledged his support for The Project when he joined parents at a special forum in the Pippins Community Centre where the group runs its support sessions.

The charity helps young people aged 13 to 24 with mental health issues, and their families.

The meeting gave parents the chance to raise concerns about the issues they have experienced in obtaining help for their children.

The Project’s founder, Debbie Humberstone, outlined to Mr Parish the work they do, which includes monthly support meetings for parents and carers of young people experiencing mental distress. All of the parents who attended spoke movingly about the value of The Project and the improvements in their children’s wellbeing.

They also highlighted to Mr Parish the common issues they faced when seeking support for their children, especially long waiting times during which children’s mental health often deteriorates.

Parents also had concerns around the high thresholds to statutory services leaving many young people unsupported, the lack of continuity between children and adult services, poor information and communication with parents about their child’s care, and unclear pathways to get appropriate support for children with complex needs.

Parents also highlighted inadequate educational provision and support for those unable to attend school due to their mental health issues. With mental health issues on the rise, more young people are struggling to remain within mainstream education, leaving them increasingly isolated and missing out on opportunities.

Mr Parish said he was keen to continue supporting The Project. He said that the forum ‘gave me a very good insight into the work you are doing, not only for those youngsters but how The Project can help with therapy for parents as well’.

Mr Parish also expressed interest in The Project’s potential to be used as a pilot for similar organisations across the country, and stated that he would raise the issues and questions in Parliament.

For more information about The Project, or to enquire about volunteering with them, got to, or call Debbie on 07970 167341.

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