The Progressive Alliance which runs Milton Keynes City Council will provide an extra £75,000 for young people’s mental health services this year.
The funding proposed by Labour and Lib Dem councillors as part of the budget in February will go to two local charities.
£25,000 has been allocated to Youth Information Service (YiS), a free and confidential British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) accredited counselling service for young people aged 11-21.
A further £50,000 has been set aside for Q:alliance, a charity that provides support, information, and representation for LGBTQ+ people.
The grants will ensure young people will be able to access free drop-in sessions for their mental health and wellbeing without referral or appointment.
The sessions will provide young people with early intervention information, signposting, and guidance before they hit a crisis point.
Councillor Emily Darlington, Labour Progressive Alliance Cabinet Member for Adults, Housing, and Healthy Communities, said:
“The City Council is committed to tackling mental health inequality across the city and we’re working hard to make services for young people in Milton Keynes more accessible. Mental health can be a difficult point of conversation for us all and young people might find it hard to talk about their thoughts and feelings with their family or friends, this funding will ensure they have a safe space to talk to someone and seek advice.”
Lib Dem Progressive Alliance Cabinet Member for Tackling Social Inequalities, Councillor Jane Carr, added:
“The knock-on effects of COVID lockdowns and the cost-of-living crisis has caused a sharp rise in the number of young people seeking support. The lack of NHS funding from the Conservative government has caused staff shortages and soaring waiting lists, leaving some young people waiting 21 weeks for their first appointment. This funding will be a big help to young people in Milton Keynes, but we can’t do it all, the Government needs to come up with a plan to rescue mental health services.”
The funding is in addition to £110,000 the City Council has invested in mental health projects across the city.