YOUNG people in crisis will be able to get help closer to home thanks to extra council funding.

More support is now available for those up to the age of 25 who attend Winchester’s emergency department (ED) due to mental health or substance misuse issues, or involvement in violence, to help improve their health and wellbeing and reduce the risk of becoming involved in future violence.

Following the success of a pilot project led by youth charity, No Limits, at Southampton General Hospital, additional funding from Hampshire County Council will enable similar support to be provided at both Winchester and Basingstoke hospital emergency departments.

Executive member for public health Councillor Judith Grajewski agreed the funding last month.

Cllr Grajewski said: “Evidence from the Southampton ED project shows that getting young people the right help at the right time, supporting them to manage their emotions and offering coping strategies, can be key to preventing further serious harm. This project is focused on working positively with young people who are dealing with complex problems and who find themselves at crisis point, supporting them to make the right choices about their future.”

The expansion of the programme will see specialist youth workers embedded in the emergency departments of the two hospitals. From here, they will provide hands-on emotional and wellbeing support, ensuring individuals, and their families, are signposted to the appropriate health, counselling and support services. In addition, the grant will contribute to the training of clinical staff in the emergency departments to be able to further support young people in crisis.

Alice Mooney, service manager at No Limits, said: “We’re really pleased to be extending the support we can give young people in this way. Often they are at their most vulnerable and in need when we meet them, and therefore willing to seek help - and this way of working means we are well placed to provide the meaningful support they need.”

The £36,744 grant agreed by Cllr Grajewski is part of a coordinated programme of work being implemented in Hampshire to tackle serious violence, funded by the Home Office. The budget for the grant is from the specific Violence Reduction Unit funds received from the Home Office via the Office for Police and Crime Commissioner for Hampshire for 2020/21.