Northumberland CIC supporting neurodivergent children awarded grant to continue mental health scheme in school

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A Northumberland not-for-profit group has received funding to continue a successful pilot scheme for a mental health support programme in primary schools.

Complex Connexions, a community interest company based in Ponteland, has been running a scheme at a local primary school to help staff approach neurodivergence better and help children develop their self-awareness and wellbeing.

It has been helping a year six class to understand their strengths, boost their confidence, and develop their emotional understanding, and has now received a £1,000 donation from The Co-operative Bank to support a second class and extend the scheme for a year.

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Shelley Farnham, founder and director at Complex Connexions, said: “The money we have received from The Co-operative Bank Customer Donation Fund is crucial as it will enable us to complete a year-long pilot programme of support to two Year 6 classes, following the success of our recent term trial.

Shelley Farnham, founder and director at Complex Connexions. (Photo by Complex Connexions)Shelley Farnham, founder and director at Complex Connexions. (Photo by Complex Connexions)
Shelley Farnham, founder and director at Complex Connexions. (Photo by Complex Connexions)

“Through this, we can provide more impactful, inclusive classroom support and offer tailored activities that will help neurodivergent pupils and their peers gain confidence at a crucial point in their education, with the transition to high school round the corner.”

Shelley, a school teacher, set up Complex Connexions in 2020 following her son’s ADHD diagnosis to raise awareness of neurodivergence and ensure that children in Northumberland with ADHD or autism have the support they need.

Since then it has grown to become an online support community for parents, carers, and teachers.

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It also provides workshops and strategies to assist adults in building effective connections with neurodivergent children and provides support directly to children and teens with ADHD or autism.

The organisation applied to the bank for the share of £100,000 donated so far this year. The bank is currently accepting new grant applications from groups that have a Community Directplus account with them.

Amelia Burnett, SME product manager at The Co-operative Bank, said: “Supporting our customers, particularly smaller charities and community projects, has never been more important.

“We are proud to have been able to provide these grants to projects across the UK that are positively impacting communities, at a time when many people are facing cost of living challenges.”