Finance firm pledges to ‘restore bright minds’ in Northamptonshire youngsters


A Northampton-based family business hopes to ‘restore and help treat’ children across the country who may be suffering from their mental health.

To mark the final day of Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week, which kicked off on Monday February 7, Billing Finance has pledged a total of £5,000 to St Andrew’s LightBulb initiative.

The initiative was developed to spot early signs of anxiety and depression in young people at school and has so far helped 11,000 children across the county.

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The initiative hopes to help students with mental health issues before they get worse.

It costs £1 per pupil to roll out the initiative, meaning the company’s contribution is expected to benefit 5,000 young people.

Oliver Mackaness, CEO of Billing Finance, said: “Our company slogan states that we ‘put people at the heart of everything we do’ and we wanted to do something that proves we absolutely do.

“Unfortunately, working in finance, we see daily how mental health issues can lead to money worries.

“Similarly, when someone is in financial difficulty, it is very likely that their mental health will also suffer. We strongly believe in teaching children how to take care of their mental health so that they are better prepared for the challenges they may face.

“It’s essential that we cultivate the bright minds our children are developing and unfortunately mental health issues can get in the way of this, which is why the LightBulb program is such an important initiative.”

“It really provides children with the tools they need to cope in a complicated world. We know the pandemic has had a significant impact on young people, so Billing Finance wants to restore and help treat as many children as possible.

“No child should suffer in silence and many young people and their teachers, guardians, parents and caregivers might not even realize there is a problem until they have grown up, and by then , it might become harder to solve. By educating everyone who comes into contact with young people about the warning signs, together I believe we can bring about real change.

LightBulb is said to be suitable for primary and secondary schools and was designed to help educators spot early signs of mental health issues in children and then take appropriate early action.

It provides a ready-to-use framework so that those involved can demonstrate and showcase excellence in mental health practice to regulators such as Ofsted.

Support and guidance is also provided to parents, carers and guardians. Young people also receive resources so they can understand what feelings they and their friends may be having and when it might be time to seek help.

Cheryl Smith, Founder of LightBulb and Principal of St Andrew’s College, which provides education for young people in St Andrew’s care, added: “It has been a real privilege to have the opportunity to reach so many schools and make such a difference. to their performance and mental health procedures.

“We also used it as a massive springboard to create something that will continue to benefit schools across the country.

“As well as reaching thousands of children, we have also helped hundreds of teaching staff through this project, all of whom have improved their knowledge and understanding of how to recognize, support and guide children. students who show signs of mental health issues as a result of the training we have provided.

“We have also ensured that the schools that work with us have embedded a positive mental health culture for their staff, students and families, and we have built relationships with each provider and service so they can contact us. if they need additional training, advice or support from us.

“With the money Billing Finance has so generously donated, it means we can continue our work and help many more schools, so I would like to thank Oliver and his team.”

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