Big Lottery – “healthy children – young carers”


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The “HEALTHY CHILDREN – YOUNG CARERS” Project was funded through Reaching Communities, Big Lottery from January 2011 to December 2013. NECS delivered counselling and psychotherapy services to 11-18-year-olds in selected Schools in Gateshead over a three-year period to measure the impact it made on their lives and their education.

North East Counselling Services understood that counselling children and young people can have far-reaching benefits for them and their families. Pressures in the home such as carer responsibilities, bereavement, drug or alcohol problems, poverty and neglect or other problems such as bullying, low self-esteem or general low mood can go undetected. Often a child’s distress can result in behavioural problems or disengagement from school, family and friends. Early emotional support can be invaluable in preventing these issues from escalating.

Funded by The Big Lottery, North East Counselling Services provided a dedicated team of children’s therapists working in seven Gateshead secondary schools (Kingsmeadow, Heworth Grange, Charles Thorp, Joseph Swan, Lord Lawson, Whickham and Thomas Hepburn) providing one to one counselling support to children, young people and young carers aged 11 to 19 years.


In the three years of this project we received 452 referrals and 315 children fully engaged in and completed the process. The majority of the children referred to us live in the most deprived areas of Gateshead, 54% of whom were in receipt of free school meals.  The outcomes for those children who have completed the counselling process were exceptionally positive and this reflected in the feedback from schools who report significant improvements in these pupils’ behaviour, attendance, interaction with peers and academic results.


  • 452 young people referrals
  • 315 engaged clients
  • 1,170 presenting issues*
  • 623 underlying issues*
  • 378 coping strategies

*Clients had multiple issues and outcomes. We achieved 902 positive outcomes through 3,511 counselling hours – an average of 11 hours per young person.


  • 35% in Behaviour
  • 51% in Social Interaction
  • 51% in Attendance
  • 27% in Academic Results

It became apparent from our data that one of the main underlying issues impacting upon the lives of children is family relationships and communication.  As a direct result of this NECS approached Gateshead Council’s “Families Gateshead” managers and towards the end of 2013 began to work separately with children and their parent(s) with considerable success.

Furthermore, NECS succeeded in a new Reaching Communities bid, thanks to the Big Lottery and the “Improving Families Resilience” Project was launched in January 2016.


For further information or to discuss new commissioning opportunities please contact Marj Hunter on (0191) 466 1314 or email

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