Young Adult Respite Service were awarded £3,850 to improve mental health through the All Together Now project. The organisation provides residential respite to disabled young adults across Merseyside, with a focus on those who are most isolated and excluded from their community. They offer a range of community-based services and also provide residential breaks to 16 – 30 year-olds, an age group which is often left behind as they sit between child and adult services.

They applied for funding to run the All Together Now project, a 6-week mentoring programme to develop the confidence and self-esteem of disabled young adults. The needs led project enables and empowers beneficiaries to become peer mentors for other disabled young adults, taking a lead on the programme delivery with the supervision of staff. The programme concludes with a residential break where peer mentors can exercise their new skills to support other young people through outdoor activities they would have never tried before, this also provides respite to their parents/carers. Participants were selected through recommendations from local youth provisions, parents and social workers to ensure those most isolated had the opportunity to take part.

The project, which took place in November 2020, made a real difference to the mental health and physical wellbeing of the young adults who took part, preventing further social exclusion. Through All Together Now, Young Adult Respite Service have been able to help the young people create a support network and friendships. The project consisted of a range of art and craft, pottery, holistic therapy, pampering and mental health sessions. Covid measures forced them to adapt the delivery of the programme to a virtual capacity. The virtual sessions allowed the young people to socialize together safely during the pandemic. The group were able to go ahead with their residential break, which they spent at Brathay Trusts in the Lake District, engaging in activities including mountain walking, canoeing, outdoor games, and watching the football together. They said: “It was such a special time considering the year our disabled young adults have had with lockdown and all their normal routines shattered and re-arranged.”