Priory Group, the UK’s leading provider of specialist mental health, education and care, has been awarded £1 million from the Department for Education’s Children’s Services Innovation Fund to trial a unique approach to caring for young people with mental health needs.
The project, which is being delivered in partnership with Suffolk County Council, will pilot an integrated health, education and care service for young people in the area. The project will bring together leading experts from education, healthcare and social services to integrate care around young people with mental health needs and create individualised packages of support.
The project will reduce the number of adolescents sent far away from home for their care, reduce the need for young people to be admitted to mental health wards and increase educational opportunities by supporting the integration of young people back into mainstream schools, colleges and the workplace at the earliest opportunity.
The project is anticipated to run for 18 months as a trial before being considered for expansion across England.
Children and Families Minister, Edward Timpson, said: “This innovative programme will transform the lives of young people with mental health problems in Suffolk. Priory Education Services will be providing a comfortable environment, close to home for these young people, meaning they can get the tailored support they need to thrive.
“Having worked as a family lawyer in the care system for more than a decade, I am hugely excited to see where this project leads.”
Tom Riall, Chief Executive of Priory Group, said: “We are delighted to have been chosen as one of the Department for Education’s innovation fund partners. This pilot project is unique in bringing together Priory’s expertise in mental health, education and care to help transform the lives of many young people across the country.
“Our integrated approach will help young people with serious mental health issues receive the support they need close to home, allowing them to live full lives in their communities, in mainstream education and in the workplace.”
The Government’s Innovation Programme aims to kick-start the most promising proposals for new ways of providing children’s social care, such as supporting young people leaving care and taking their first steps into adulthood or looking at new bespoke services such as FGM prevention.
It focuses on two key target areas – fresh ways of working in children’s social work and better support for young people in or on the edge of care.