A FUNDING boost from Children in Need is set to target projects helping tackle physical and mental health issues in youngsters.

Children in Need has announced that four projects in Dorset are among the successful applicants in the latest round of funding.

They include STEPS Club for Young People, Dorset Mind, Dorset Youth Association and Purbeck Youth and Community Foundation. Together they have received a total of £36,605, bringing the total Children in Need’s small grant programme has invested in Dorset to more than £899,000. 

Tom Lane, youth worker at STEPS, said the announcement is ‘very exciting’.

They have received £9,764 for a new scheme encouraging up to 130 teens living in an area affected by high levels of deprivation to lead healthier lifestyles. In the next year, the money will help fund youth workers to deliver two weekly activity sessions in order to increase young people’s self-esteem and confidence, such as exercise, arts and sports. Sessions at the project also include workshops on topics that are meaningful to young club-goers’ lives and help them make more informed decisions about diet, fitness, mental health, drugs and alcohol, and sexual health. 

Mr Lane said: “This programme is going to be very fun and creative, allowing young people to explore these issues. The programme will not only give young people information about health choices and services, but it’s also very much about ensuring they have the self-esteem and confidence to make good choices and use those services.”

Dorset Mind has been granted £8,966 to continue developing its befriending service for local teens who are struggling with a mental health issue and £8,068 has been secured by Purbeck Youth and Community Foundation to support a club for young people aged 12 to 18 living in an area affected by low-income and social isolation.

Dorset Youth Association (DYA) has been awarded £9,807 to help run its Strengthening Families Programme in Weymouth and Portland, targeting families at-risk of relationship breakdown. The one year grant will help fund staff who can help facilitate sessions between young people and their parents to help them overcome challenges to communication and improve dynamics within the family. 

Speaking of the new grants, Juliet Williams, BBC Children in Need Regional Officer of the South and West said: “Our Small Grants programme is a great example of small sums of money delivering a big impact on a local level, and we're delighted to award these four organisations in Dorset as they work to make a difference to disadvantaged young locals. We’re always looking for quality applications for our Small Grants programme and with a recent refresh to our strategy we are now able to support projects for longer and make the most of opportunities for disadvantaged children and young people. If you think your project could benefit, we encourage you to get in touch and find out more.”