In-demand young people’s support service gets cash boost from University of Northampton

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Pictured from left John Howes, 1st Degree Facilities, Lowdown resources and marketing manager, Ellie White, Lowdown administrator, Marie Wallace, Lowdown LGBTQ co-ordinator Emma Cullen and Aidan Rei

A University of Northampton fundraising drive has raised more than £1,300 for a charity which provides vital support for children and young adults in Northamptonshire.

Each summer, the University’s grounds team sells off floral displays used during graduation week to generate cash for good causes.

The £1,380 raised this year has been donated to The Lowdown, which offers free and confidential counselling, sexual health and LGBTQ support services six days a week, in Northampton, for 12 to 25 year olds.

John Howes, External Services Manager for 1st Degree Facilities, the company which maintains the University estate, explained why The Lowdown was chosen as this year’s beneficiary.

He said: “I sit on the University’s Wellbeing Forum and so am well aware of the challenges young people face, and also the gaps in mental health services that they can access. The Lowdown does some amazing work to help young people in the county, including our students, and without it, so many would have nowhere to turn.”

The Lowdown’s resources and marketing manager, Ellie White, said: “It’s fantastic to see the University support us in this way, particularly as students use our services.

“The money, which will go directly to supporting young people in the county, is much needed because the number of people coming to us with mental health issues is on the rise.

“We saw a 24% increase in the number of sessions we ran for young people in the last financial year, compared to the year before.

“We put this down to a number of factors, including the stigma of discussing mental health being lifted thanks to celebrities and those on social media opening up. Growing up as a young person today also brings extra pressures compared to those a few years ago. The negative effects of social media, employment insecurities and trouble with housing can all play their part.

“We now also offer a much-needed support network for those from the LGBTQ community, which has increased the demand for our services.”

2019 will see The Lowdown celebrate its 30th anniversary, when it will launch a fundraising campaign to extend its Kingswell Street premises to meet the growing demand for services.

The organisation, which is open to everybody in the county aged 12 to 25, receives funding from the NHS, but relies heavily on donations and grants to offer its full range of services.

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