Swindon Charity Inner Flame has pledged to support young people in innovative ways throughout lockdown and beyond.
With funding from the Big Lottery, Lloyds Bank Foundation and Nationwide, Inner Flame has been able to reach out to young people who have been hard hit by the effects of the pandemic.
Its new programme, Manage Anxiety Your Way, was due to start in March.
When the first lockdown came, the need for the programme became even more acute and Inner Flame adapted and launched the first pilot in June.
Elizabeth Postgate, the charity’s manager, said: “We were surprised and delighted by how effective the programmes are, now we are running them online.”
The programme helps participants aged 16 to 25 to take control of how they deal with anxiety. It introduces a variety of techniques, based on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Mindfulness and the five ways to wellbeing.
Participants can try out different approaches, and see what works for them.
When they leave the programme, participants have a clear idea on how to move forward in managing their own mental wellbeing and taking their next steps in life. Inner Flame also provides additional support through a combination of peer-led support groups, one-to-one support and mentoring.
Sport England’s Tackling Inequalities Fund has ensured that the Programme will continue through next year.
Responses from young people who have attended so far have been positive.
One said: "I joined Inner Flame with anxiety with talking to peers and I was finding university very difficult due to this. After just a few weeks of engaging in the Inner Flame group calls I became more confident and found speaking a little less daunting.
"I even found that I was able to apply these skills to my university online calls and I feel great for this now."
Another said: “The best part of the course for me was the community aspect of it and working with people that have started alongside myself and getting to learn about the different ways in which people deal with anxiety and opening up that a conversation and not feeling alone.”
One of the other young people who took part said: “This course isn’t designed to be one anxious person is the same as every other – which is really refreshing.
"It gave us the chance to be honest in a safe environment, with others going through similar things, and if we needed to discuss ourselves as a group we were given this time.” CC
Inner Flame has been working with young people in Swindon since 2008.
Founder David Wreathall said: “In that time we have seen a huge change in the needs of the young people we work with.
"A large majority of those joining our courses suffer from mental health issues and we are keen to offer something to help them. Manage Anxiety Your Way offers young people a chance to take control.”
More information on the Manage Anxiety Your Way Programme can be obtained by emailing Kathryn@innerflame.org.uk or visiting www.innerflame.org.uk/courses