Game-changing funding awarded to support young people’s mental health and resilience

29th November 2022

The Community Foundation for Surrey is delighted to announce that thanks to a group of visionary donors we have been able to award the largest grant we have ever made. This is part of a new game-changing fund which has been set up to change the narrative that support in Surrey is not available to all young people who need it.

We believe that all children and young people in Surrey, and their families, deserve help and support with their mental health. We know that over many years of providing funding to the voluntary and community sectors we have supported some excellent work that is making a measurable impact in young people’s mental health, but we will now be targeting funding to scale-up excellent provision so that everyone who needs support can access it in our county.

In 2021 we set up a new Mental Health Scale Up Fund thanks to support from The Quies Trust, The Sedel-Collings Foundation and anonymous donors. Having raised £1M, we were delighted in September 2022 to receive £1M matched funding from Surrey County Council. We have now awarded a grant of just under £0.25M over 5 years to Surrey Care Trust for their Nurture through Nature programme.

This programme provides access to a range of outdoor activities including therapeutic horticulture sessions at dedicated allotments, nature excursions and informally mentored conservation activities aboard their community boats. There will also be activities such as sessions with ponies and donkeys, or paddleboarding integrated with mentoring packages.

Surrey Care Trust bring 40 years’ experience of working with young people and are currently working with a variety of young people with mental health needs including anxiety, isolation, low confidence, PTSD, gender dysphoria, bullying, self-harm, social dysfunction and neurodivergence.

This work will particularly focus on providing support to:

  • Children struggling with the transition from year 6 to 7 (Primary to secondary)
  • Students (aged 14-16) struggling with poor mental health that leads to school avoidance
  • Young people up to age 30 who are (who are at risk of becoming) NEET (not in education, employment or training)
  • Care leavers
  • Those with disabilities and further support needs


John Downing, Chief Executive, Surrey Care Trust said:

One of our Nurture Through Nature sessions

“Everyone at Surrey Care Trust is delighted to receive the first award of the Community Foundation for Surrey’s Mental Health Scale Up Fund. This award will enable us to develop and expand our pioneering Nurture through Nature activities across Surrey and, most importantly, reach even more young people affected by poor mental health. With rising demand for mental health support and even, in some cases, daunting waiting lists, we are seeing the devastation mental health issues have on young people and its long-lasting impact on their futures.

Working with partners across the county, we can build on our experience in providing support to young people – support that makes the difference to their mental health and their confidence. We can concentrate on engaging the young men and women of Surrey to get outdoors, active, and benefit from everything our wonderful environment has to offer; we can help to build their resilience, establish positive relationships, and build the skills they need to manage (and even overcome) their situation. This would not have been possible without this award. Thank you!”

Read more about Surrey Care Trust

Surrey County Council Leader Councillor Tim Oliver said:

“At Surrey County Council we continue to work alongside Community Foundation Surrey to ensure funding reaches those in our communities who need it most.  We know that mental wellbeing is something many are struggling with in these current times.  But in particular we recognise the importance of our young people being able to access help and support easily via a range of different services and in differing ways.  This £0.25m funding going to Surrey Care Trust will make a real difference by offering support to young people with Nurture through Nature. And with Surrey’s beautiful countryside on offer this is a real opportunity for us to help make a difference to many young people’s lives for the better.”


Discover more about our Mental Health Scale Up Fund including How to apply, Eligibility, Funding criteria and Application deadlines.