Charity calls on business to back mental health initiative

Aug 04, 2019

Milton Keynes Mayor Sam Crooks is backing the YiS Big Give Christmas Challenge.

A CALL has gone out to businesses to support the work of a mental health charity that provides counselling to children and young people in Milton Keynes.

YiS Youth Counselling Service has signed up to The Big Give Christmas Challenge 2019. To ensure that 50 young people receive vital counselling support, the charity is aiming to raise £3,750 in pledges from local businesses before 5pm on August 30. All funding it raises by then will be matched by a major donor.

The initiative comes at a critical time for YiS. Because of an unprecedentedly high demand for its services, the charity had to turn away 160 young people who requested counselling in the past year. It offered 23% more sessions last year and saw 10% more clients… however, it was still unable to keep up with the demand for mental health services for children and young people in Milton Keynes. 

“The Big Give Christmas Campaign will help us to generate pledges from local businesses and match fund them so that we can recruit more fantastic volunteer counsellors,” says Kat Newman, director of development and engagement at YiS.

A report earlier this year from the Children’s Society showed that mental health is the single largest cause of disability in the UK, greater than both cancer and cardiovascular disease. Yet, says YiS, treatment for mental health problems is still woefully inadequate. The average wait for effective treatment for mental health problems is  ten years and 75% of all mental health problems are established by the time that person reaches 18.  

By not giving children and young people the support they need at a young age, society is allowing their problems to manifest, YiS continues. With the right support at the right time, these problems can be managed and prevented. Yet 75% of young people experiencing mental health problems are receiving no treatment at all.

“While YiS is offering more counselling sessions than ever before, YiS was unable to provide counselling for at least an extra 160 local young people who enquired,” says Kat. By taking part in the Big Give Christmas Challenge, YiS aims to be able to offer more young people around MK with an initial meeting and six free sessions of counselling accredited by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy.

“99% of young people who have accessed YiS would recommend us to a friend,” says Kat “so we know that our service makes a real difference to the lives of local young people.”.

  • The Big Give Christmas Challenge is the UK’s biggest match funding campaign. The Christmas Challenge is a match funding campaign where donations to participating charities are doubled. The match funds come from two sources – charities secure pledges over the summer which are then boosted by funds from a Big Give Champion who contributes to the match fund. 

The collective pot is used to double donations from online supporters when the campaign is live. Find out more about how the campaign works at

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