Well-known Norfolk figures back new mental health fund for young people

PUBLISHED: 06:00 20 July 2020 | UPDATED: 08:32 20 July 2020

Norman Lamb. Picture: Jamie Honeywood

Norman Lamb. Picture: Jamie Honeywood

Jamie Honeywood Archant Norwich Norfolk

“We can fight back”: that is the message today, as a fund is officially launched to support young people’s mental health and wellbeing.

Former Norwich City player Darren Eadie. Picture: Ian BurtFormer Norwich City player Darren Eadie. Picture: Ian Burt

Dozens of big names can be revealed as backers of the Norman Lamb Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund – including Delia Smith, Norwich City stars Alexander Tettey and Christoph Zimmermann, and the writer Johann Hari.

Lady Anwen Hurt. Picture: ANTONY KELLYLady Anwen Hurt. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Sir Norman, former Liberal Democrat MP for North Norfolk, said some mental health support groups had seen a 70pc rise in demand since the outbreak of coronavirus.

Baroness Gillian Shephard. Picture: Ian BurtBaroness Gillian Shephard. Picture: Ian Burt

He said the need for extra help was huge, but added: “We do not have to bow down to this, we can fight back. We want the fund to have a lasting impact on Norfolk.”

Paralympian Jessica-Jane Applegate. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYParalympian Jessica-Jane Applegate. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The former care minister set up the fund to improve the lives of children, teenagers and young adults with learning difficulties, autism and mental health issues.

Patricia Hewitt. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYPatricia Hewitt. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Ahead of a virtual launch today he met with organisations through a virtual youth mental health summit, to understand the impact of the pandemic on young people.

Henry Layte of The Book Hive. Picture: Jamie HoneywoodHenry Layte of The Book Hive. Picture: Jamie Honeywood

He said: “Organisations taking part in the summit reported growing concerns over the wellbeing of children and young people during lockdown, including a rise in reported cases of domestic abuse.

Tom Blofeld, BeWILDerwood creator. PICTURE: Jamie HoneywoodTom Blofeld, BeWILDerwood creator. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

“Referrals to the police of child abuse allegations are down but there is a significant concern that we do not fully know what is going on behind closed doors. In normal times, schools are one of the main routes by which concerns are raised with the police and with children not attending school, tell-tail signs of abuse are not being picked up.

“There is therefore a concern that we will see a surge in reported cases once children return to school.”

MORE: Sir Norman Lamb sets £1m target to give young people a ‘bright future’

Data from Kooth, which is commissioned by the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, for 11 to 25-year-olds showed the East of England had seen a “marked rise” in domestic and child abuse, eating issues and anxiety in young people.

Sir Norman launched the fund with the Norfolk Community Foundation in August last year with the aim to raise £1m to invest in grassroot services supporting young people.

To date, it has raised £150,000.

At a time where support is “needed more than ever”, charities are facing the challenge of being able to raise funds.

Sir Norman said: “It is often community groups and organisations that are supporting children and young people and that is why the funding is needed to give to these organisations to get behind necessary work in our community.

“The fund is needed more than ever now.”

He added the county faced future worries about the impact of redundancies on a person’s self worth and wellbeing and that encouraging the county to get on board could make Norfolk a place to look to.

As part of the launch, Sir Norman has welcomed the backing of 36 fund ambassadors from the worlds of business, sport, music, education, politics and public life. 

“I am absolutely thrilled to have the backing of so many prominent people in Norfolk and national figures, all of whom have one thing in common – a commitment to mental health,” he said.

As part of the next stage, he will be encouraging people to get out into Norfolk for a 500-mile challenge through August.

People will be able to choose to run, cycle or swim as an alternative to walking and work in groups to reach the 500-mile target, or set a smaller goal if they take on the challenge individually.

To contribute towards the fund, donate online at or send a cheque made payable to Norfolk Community Foundation (referencing the Sir Norman Lamb Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund) to Norfolk Community Foundation, St. James Mill, Whitefriars, Norwich, NR3 1TN.


Who is supporting the fund?

A star-studded list of ambassadors from across the world of sport, education, politics, media and arts in Norfolk has been unveiled for a fund supporting the county’s young people.

And today they have told why they are backing the Norman Lamb Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund, set up by Sir Norman Lamb to raise £1m for grassroots services in Norfolk.

The full list of ambassadors is: Alexander Tettey, Christoph Zimmermann, Darren Eadie, Iwan Roberts, Jeremy Goss, Paul McVeigh, Lady Anwen Hurt, Emilie Brown, David Hill, Prof David Richardson, Delia Smith, Ed Balls, Baroness Gillian Shephard, Henry Layte, Karl Minns, Paddy Seligman, Patricia Hewitt, the Lord-Lieutenant of Norfolk Lady Pippa Dannatt, Stephen Crocker, David Powles, Patrick Barkham, Sean Fletcher, Johann Hari, Kevin Piper, Paul Riseborough, Peter Baynham, Simon Bailey, Tom Blofeld, Vanessa Pooley, Iona Lake, Jessica-Jane Applegate, singer-songwriter Tanita Tikaram and hip hop artist Vincent ‘Cenzy’ Harrison.

Here is why they support the fund:

Simon Bailey, chief constable of Norfolk Constabulary

“Vulnerable members of society over the course of the last 100 days of the coronavirus lockdown will have faced unbeknown and unforeseen challenges in their lives that they will never ever have had to deal with before and we know that children in particular during this time have been vulnerable.”

Lady Anwen Hurt, Pro Chancellor of Norwich University of the Arts and artistic director of Holt Festival

“It is so very important to look after the mental health of our children and young people, particularly at the moment when they have been separated from their school friends and peer groups. I know from my own extended family that it is vital that mental health issues are recognised and treated properly at an early age and that young people are given every opportunity to have the best start in their adult lives.”

Christoph Zimmermann, footballer for Norwich City

“I’m glad to see that help is provided to those who need it, especially as the last couple of months have stressed that it is now more important than ever to look after one another in our community.”

David Hill, executive chairman of Jarrolds

“I’m delighted to be named an ambassador of the Sir Norman Lamb Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund at Norfolk Community Foundation. I fully support Sir Norman’s efforts to give our young people a brighter future.”

Jeremy Buxton, Norfolk farmer and former Eurosport presenter

The deeply important issue of mental health is something which is very personal to me, having experienced it both within my family and having suffered myself. I look forward to doing all that I can to help shine a light on mental health and wellbeing particularly amongst the young generations in Norfolk.”

Jessica-Jane Applegate, Paralympic gold medallist

“Being diagnosed on the autistic spectrum as a child and struggling with mental health myself I know only too well what a difference having support can do and mean. Without the years of support I’ve received I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish the things I have. A charity to support their mental health and wellbeing, support can be absolutely life changing.”

Patrick Barkham, author

“Like everyone really, my life has been touched by experience of mental ill health and in my family. I’ve got young children and it’s such an important issue for them growing up and for me as a parent that they have all the support they need and our young people and our children for whom the coronavirus crisis has hit really hard get all the support they need.”

Patricia Hewitt, former secretary of state for health, now chair of Norfolk and Waveney Health and Care Partnership

“Covid is having such a profound effect on people’s mental health that we will need to do everything we can to support and promote community-based and peer-to-peer support groups. The NHS and other statutory services simply won’t be able to do in on their own.”

Vincent Harrison, Hip Hop artist known as ‘Cenzy’

“I became an ambassador of The Sir Norman Lamb Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund because I truly believe in their mission to help people dealing with mental health issues in their life. Like many others, I have suffered many battles with my mind, and I know the war is never over, but the small battles we win arm us for the future and give us the confidence and experience we need to overcome what we thought would be impossible.

Emilie Brown, Member of Youth Parliament for Norwich North

“Supporting young people and making things as accessible as possible is really important to me as a member of Norfolk Youth Parliament, and the Sir Norman Lamb Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund is a great step in the right direction.

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