Children's mental health charity receives donation from Potton housebuilder

A children's mental health charity in Bedford has received a helping hand from CALA Homes.

The Mind Map Charity received a £2,500 donation from CALA's Community Bursary Scheme. CALA Homes, which is building its Clover Gate development in Potton, launched the CALA Community Bursary in Bedfordshire in February.

L to R: Jo Dormer (Deputy Headteacher), CALA Homes' Patrick Danagher and Elizabeth Fordham (Mind Map Charity) with Daisy (5), Euan (8), James (4), Maya (9), Niko (7) and Imogen (8). Photo by Tim George

L to R: Jo Dormer (Deputy Headteacher), CALA Homes' Patrick Danagher and Elizabeth Fordham (Mind Map Charity) with Daisy (5), Euan (8), James (4), Maya (9), Niko (7) and Imogen (8). Photo by Tim George

Organisations, charities and groups in the area were invited to apply for a share of £12,000 to help fund projects that make a difference in the community.

The Mind Map Charity uses early intervention strategies to equip schools with tools to promote emotional literacy and resilience, thereby seeking to prevent mental health difficulties from developing into serious and long-term mental health conditions in adulthood.

The charity’s vision is to continue to provide an integrated and inclusive service that supports children and young people. It runs teacher training sessions, interactive class workshops and parent information events.

The Mind Map Charity was chosen as a recipient of the bursary, with the funding used to support the in-house training and development of three new workshop facilitators.

L to R: Headteacher Joseph Piatczanyn, CALA Homes' Patrick Danagher and Elizabeth Fordham (Mind Map Charity) with Niko (7), James (4), Maya (9), Imogen (8) and Euan (8). Photo by Tim George

L to R: Headteacher Joseph Piatczanyn, CALA Homes' Patrick Danagher and Elizabeth Fordham (Mind Map Charity) with Niko (7), James (4), Maya (9), Imogen (8) and Euan (8). Photo by Tim George

Due to the completion of the structured programme of shadowing and coaching, these facilitators now enable a more rapid expansion of the charity’s service into a greater number of local schools.

The bursary has also allowed the charity to develop its work to include children in school years five to eight, and plans to expand its remit into senior schools in the near future.

Duncan Jackson, Managing Director at CALA Homes North Home Counties, said: “CALA has always been committed to making a positive and lasting contribution to the local communities in which it builds and the Community Bursary scheme has given us the opportunity to find out exactly what support is required locally.

"We are delighted to know that with our donation, The Mind Map Charity has been able to invest in the training and development of three new workshop facilitators who will work across many different schools in the area.

"We look forward to seeing the charity continue its great work in the community.”

This year, the Community Bursary scheme has awarded a total of £109,000 to 117 good causes across the UK. A further 200 causes have previously benefited from the scheme, with over £200,000 awarded to various initiatives since 2017.

Liz Fordham, CEO at The Mind Map Charity, said: “Supporting the mental health needs for children and young people is crucial for families, local communities and society as a whole.

"We believe that by providing teachers with the right tools to promote emotional literacy and resilience, all school staff will be better equipped to help prevent and manage the mental health difficulties that so many children and young people face.

“We are so thankful to CALA Homes for this huge donation which will allow us to support the in-house training and development of three new workshop facilitators and expand the age range of the children we can reach.

"Given that our services are free of charge, we heavily rely on fundraising and donations to allow us to continue our work in the local community, and with CALA’s generous contribution, we can do so.”

Another Bedford-based charity, JustUs, has also benefited from CALA Homes’ community bursary scheme.

JustUs is an organisation that supports single people and families who are currently homeless, and helps to get them housed again by assisting them with their homelessness applications to the local council.

Having received a £750 donation from the housebuilder, JustUs has been able to support two more households with their homeless applications, secure them a main housing duty from the local council and successfully get them housed in safe and suitable accommodation.