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Councils' wellbeing project receives funding boost from leading UK health charities

Date issued: 18 October 2017

A joint project by Colchester Borough Council and Essex County Council, aimed at encouraging young people to talk about their everyday life, has been awarded £20,000 in funding from two leading health charities.

No Filter is one of fourteen innovative library projects across the UK awarded funding by Engaging Libraries, a Wellcome Trust and Carnegie UK Trust programme which aims to inspire conversations, interest and debate within local communities about health and wellbeing.

Colchester Library and Community Hub will host a series of creative media and video workshops designed to stimulate two-way engagement and debate about wellbeing issues affecting young people, such as stress, obesity, body image and even death, through the sharing of blogs, vlogs and podcasts.

Young people attending the workshops will be encouraged to create 'wellbeing selfies' about their everyday life, the ways in which they cope with stress and anxiety, and about the self-help strategies they have found helpful. Topics might include, for example: managing stress; relaxation; gratitude, or the effect of food and physical activity on mood.

During the pilot, Colchester Council's No Filter team will contribute valuable project evaluation and community engagement expertise - supported by partners Signals and Firstsite - and backed by its own Startwell Campaign which promotes healthy-living messages and supports residents to improve their physical and mental wellbeing.

Councillor Tina Bourne, Portfolio Holder for Housing and Communities, said: "We know from a growing body of research that an increasing number of children today experience anxiety, depression and anger - to the level and extent that mental health has become a focus of intense generational concern for young people themselves.

"So, I am tremendously pleased that the Wellcome Trust and Carnegie UK Trust have recognised the importance of the No Filter project as an avenue for helping young people find their voice in ways that can help them build the self-confidence, resilience and mutual support they need to live healthy, happy lives."

Martyn Evans, Chief Executive Carnegie UK Trust, said: "Public libraries are unique, trusted places at the heart of local communities. The Engaging Libraries programme gives libraries the opportunity to engage with the public on a range of complex health and wellbeing issues, providing a safe space for debate, discussion, interaction and learning."

Based on insights gathered by the No Filter team, Startwell plans to commission or upscale a community development project or service that will support early intervention and/or promote mental health and wellbeing for young people.

Startwell will also provide up to £25k of match-funding to support the No Filter project - £5k during the pilot itself and £20k to develop any follow-up project.

Follow the project on social media with the hashtags #nofilter and #expressyourself.