Harpenden Building Society teams up with St Albans youth counselling charity

Harpenden Building Society has teamed up with St Albans-based charity Youth Talk to offer counsellin

Harpenden Building Society has teamed up with St Albans-based charity Youth Talk to offer counselling sessions. Picture: Martin Ring - Credit: Archant

Harpenden Building Society is halfway through a three-year partnership with St Albans-based charity Youth Talk to help support young people’s mental health.

Funding from the building society's 'Grassroots Endowment Fund' has already financed the first Youth Talk counselling sessions, with 100 per year provided for young people in the district who are struggling with mental health issues.

Phil Bannister, head of operations at Harpenden Building Society, said: "Our Grassroots Endowment Fund was set up to help our local communities and has subsequently led us to being awarded a Corporate Social Responsibility Award and Mayor's Pride Award for community-oriented business of the year."

"With reports of mental health affecting one in four of the UK population, the society was keen to channel funds towards paid for counselling sessions that will help some of the young people within our communities to manage and improve their wellbeing."

The funding agreement between Youth Talk and Harpenden Building Society is being managed by Hertfordshire Community Foundation (HCF), an independent charity that encourages people to support small charities, voluntary groups and individuals in Herts.

HCF identified young people's mental health as a key concern for both organisations during their 'Hertfordshire Matters' research, before matching them together as funding partners.

Youth Talk was founded by a St Albans GP in 1997, after she identified a need for a safe space where young people could go for counselling and support. Since then, over 2,800 young people have used the service, which currently offers more than 60 counselling sessions each week.

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Speaking about the charity's role in the community, Youth Talk chief executive David Barker said: "For a whole variety of reasons, young people can find themselves feeling mentally unwell in ways they'd never expected - through anxiety, depression, family issues, identity and a whole lot more.

"Youth Talk provides an open door and a safe, confidential place for young people to talk. Yet we can only continue our vital work with the support of the local community and we are eternally grateful and delighted to be working with the team at the Harpenden Building Society."