Two Lancashire Libraries are pioneering a new project to boost young people’s mental health by encouraging openness and debate about issues which affect them.
The Lancashire Great Minds project at Longton Library and Garstang Library will spark discussion between local 12-14 year olds. It will culminate in the young people organising and being responsible for their own festival with the aim of boosting mental wellbeing that engages with the wider community.
The initiative will go ahead after winning £15,000 funding from Engaging Libraries, a fund set up by the Carnegie UK Trust and Wellcome Trust to pilot creative and imaginative public engagement projects on health and wellbeing.
Staff from the libraries will work with local schools and the county council’s Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) to support regular discussions between young people, and help them organise the festival.
County Councillor Peter Buckley, Lancashire County Council’s cabinet member for community and cultural services, said: “This funding means that we now have an opportunity to engage young people in rural communities, who may have had fewer opportunities to take part in cultural activities.
“We hope that running this project in such a trusted community space as a local library will inspire young people to take an interest in, and discuss, issues which could affect their mental health and wider wellbeing.
“The young people will also have the opportunity to work together and organise their own festival and cultural experience.
“Our bid was just one of 14 nationwide to win funding out of 120 applications, and I’d like to thank our libraries team for their hard work on the bid to allow them to take this project forward.”
The project was chosen by an expert Advisory Group which included representatives from the Society of Chief Librarians, CILIP the Library and Information Association, Arts Council England, Scottish Library and Information Council, Welsh Government, the Local Government Management Agency in the Republic of Ireland and Libraries NI.