Dear friends

Over the years, Our Time – the multi-family programme for families coping with mental illness, loved by children and parents alike – has been a consistent and invaluable source of support for us three and our families. Our Time remains the only national charity dedicated to helping the children of parents with mental illness, who carry an unacceptable burden beyond their years, to positively manage such challenges. So, as the new generation of the Our Time team, we would like to share some of the things we are proud to have achieved this year with you.

Firstly, we are thrilled to announce that Our Time has set up four new KidsTime Workshops in the UK this year, bringing us to a total of 14. This now means we support over 300 families nationwide.

Secondly, the ‘Who Cares ?’ programme (our training for schools with information and coping strategies surrounding parental mental illness) has set up a hub in Barnet and is working with 40 new schools and reaching over 2000 children. We also now have a Hub in Plymouth.

Another pivotal development is our new research partnership with the Mental Health Foundation. Together we are piloting a research study (RCT) of the KidsTime Workshop in Southwark. We will also be partnering with The Children’s Society in 2018 to run a campaign highlighting the needs of the families and children we support.

Lastly, our awareness raising efforts have proved very successful. These include: productive correspondence with the Prime Minister and the Minister for Children, and with the Children’s Commissioner; giving evidence to the government’s Science and Technology Committee on Adverse Childhood Experiences; and recording an ‘All in the Mind’ programme for Radio 4. This was aired at 9pm on Tuesday 28th November 2017 and 3:30pm on Wednesday 29th November 2017.

So, the tide is clearly turning in our favour. This will enable us to continue making a significant impact on the lives of this very neglected group of children. The need is becoming clearer and grants for our projects mean they are moving ahead. However, most of our own work is voluntary and the resource team in the organisation has not grown. Currently government cuts mean that local authority funding for mental health has been reduced by as much as 80% in some London boroughs – when at the same time one in four people are presenting with a mental health problem which affects some 3.4 million children (Ernst and Young). We have therefore become inundated; with the demands for our services currently outweighing our resources. In order to survive and build our infrastructure further we desperately need £20,000.

We know we are writing to our friends – and relatives! – who may not have money to spare. But we hope you at least have understood the urgent need to support this group of children and will canvas with your friends and anyone who might support us at this critical time. We are ready to move forward. The urgent needs of these children has in no way lessened.

The next phase is therefore to set up a KidsTime Workshop and a linked group of committed schools in every borough and rural community.

Please help us make this happen by supporting us here.

With Warm Wishes from us all!

Ambeya Begum MSc:
Beneficiary of associated young carers school group. Current board member and ambassador for Our Time and a financial consultant for a City Bank

Kirsty Tahta-Wraith BSc:
Our Time beneficiary. Current research support and trainer for Our Time whilst working in CAMHS pursuing a career in clinical psychology

Chineye Njoku BSc Dip CBT:
Our Time beneficiary. Current board member and trainer for Our Time and therapist for the NHS’ Improving Access to Psychological Therapies service