World Mental Health Day: Pie Factory Music fundraiser for vital youth counselling services

Pie Factory Music providing services for our youngsters Photo Steve Kreeger

Youth charity Pie Factory Music is marking World Mental Health Day today (October 10) with the launch of a fundraiser to provide 11-18 year olds in East Kent with professional counselling.

The aim is to help plug the gap as access to crucial services becomes harder due to heightened demand brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The charity says it is dealing with a 200% increase in referrals for pastoral support and unprecedented demand for services means young people across Kent are struggling to get immediate mental health support.

Young people are facing the biggest mental health challenge of their lives with access to socialising, support networks, education and employment cut-off and minimised due to lockdown, social distancing and further social restrictions as COVID-19 continues to impact society.

Photo Steve Kreeger

A Young Minds survey reports 80% of young people in the UK agreed that the pandemic had made their mental health worse, with 87% stating that they felt lonely or isolated and 31% saying they were no longer able to access support but needed it.

Young people are seeking urgent support for many reasons; having experienced trauma, anxiety and/or depression as a result of COVID-19, following a bereavement or illness affecting their loved ones, or those with a pre-existing mental illness who are reaching out for help. Services are overwhelmed by the demand and waiting lists are growing daily. The longer the pandemic lasts, the greater the impact and the longer-lasting the effects.

The situation has prompted Pie Factory Music to acting in a bid to ensure that no young person in Thanet, Canterbury, Dover and their surrounding districts, which has some of the most deprived wards in the country, is left behind.

Photo Jordan Mary

Pie Factory Music Managing Director Steph Dickinson (pictured below) said:“2020 has been excruciating for our young people, who have had their lives turned upside down by the pandemic.

“Every young person has had to adjust to dramatic changes in their education or employment, routine and home life. Some have experienced bereavement or traumatic experiences during the lockdown period, while groups who were already marginalised or disadvantaged are now likely to become more so.

“Although some things are slowly starting to return, we know that the impact of this year will take us all, especially young people, a long-time to recover from. We are aware that some young people are now in need of urgent, professional support and whilst mental health services are doing their best to keep up with the increasing demand, for some young people, the wait is too long.

“We feel it’s our duty to step in by creating immediate support, to reach our young people who need it now. But we can’t do it alone, we need our community to help us. We know it’s a tough time for everyone, but any small donation can go a long way to make a big difference. Please help us to show them that there are people who care – your support has never more been needed.”

Talented local artists Paul Camo and Rob Flowers have created two exclusive, limited edition T shirts to help raise vital donations and awareness for the cause, coinciding with World Mental Health Day today (October 10) and Black History Month.

Aiming to raise at least £5,000, donations and all profits from the sale of the T shirts will go towards providing:

  • Professional counselling for 11 – 18 year olds associated with the charity, equivalent to giving 15 young people access to six sessions with a qualified counsellor who specialises in treating adolescents, and 35 young people access to a one-off session.
  • Creative intervention sessions that give 8 – 18 year olds a unique opportunity to work with a creative practitioner such as a musician or artist, spending studio time together and creating music, which will help towards alleviating some of their symptoms as well as develop employable skills.

Counselling services will encompass those who are navigating their cultural heritage and who have been victims of racism.

Paul Camo’s slogan tee references protest T shirts and placards, taking cues from the past to inspire action now as the fight for racial justice continues.

Rob Flowers has created a vibrant visual expression of the words and objects Pie Factory’s young people use to define the charity and its work.

Throughout the Coronavirus pandemic, Pie Factory Music has adapted its services to provide support for young minds, digitally and in-person where possible. This has included a number of mental health check-ins, 1-2-1 sessions and new creative activities such as daily creative challenges, competitions, online live events such as DJ nights, and the delivery of care packages to young people.

Find the appeal at

Pie Factory Music is a music and youth work charity set up in 2002 to provide free, accessible, and high-quality workshops for young people across East Kent. Pie Factory Music also delivers two youth services contracts for Kent County Council, providing open-access youth provision in both the Thanet and Dover districts.

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