New award for mental health project helping young people

Viki Ashby (centre) and Melissa Baitmansour (right) from i-rock collecting the award in Manchester SUS-181201-150910001
Viki Ashby (centre) and Melissa Baitmansour (right) from i-rock collecting the award in Manchester SUS-181201-150910001

A unique project which supports young people in Hastings and Rother has won a prestigious award at the first ever National Children and Young People’s Mental Health (CYPMH) Awards.

The i-Rock drop-in centre in Hastings has won the ‘partnership working and co-production’ award at the inaugural CYPMH Awards, which took place on Saturday, January 6 at Manchester Town Hall. The award ceremony celebrated outstanding mental health services, innovations in care, and the groups that have made a real difference to young people.

i-Rock is a place where young people aged 14 to 25 can seek support for things including mental health, wellbeing, housing, employment and education. A partnership service led by Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, East Sussex County Council and Hastings & Rother CCG, the project works closely with a wide range of third sector providers including Princes Trust, Education Futures Trust, Youth Employability Service and Counselling Plus.

Commissioned by NHS Hastings and Rother Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), i-Rock is part of ‘Healthy Hastings and Rother’ – a scheme set up to tackle health inequalities in the area as part of the wider East Sussex Better Together (ESBT) programme.

Viki Ashby, Youth Services project manager, said: “We were thrilled to be shortlisted for the award. Myself and my colleague travelled to Manchester Town Hall to attend the awards ceremony, and it was a fantastic celebration of the children, young people and services across the country whose dedication and hard work have achieved fantastic results. In the category of partnership working and co-design, i-Rock was shortlisted alongside two other fantastic resources located in other areas of the country. When i-Rock was announced as the winner, we were so excited and felt extremely privileged.

“The i-Rock service has exceeded our expectations – supporting hundreds of local young people to access support, with no waiting times or referrals. Young people have been crucial in co-designing the service and those accessing it have consistently told us that they would strongly recommend it to others. We are especially pleased to announce that the outstanding results have led to a commitment to establish two further services across East Sussex, so that all young people aged 14 to 25 have access to a local service.”

Dr Susan Rae, GP at Silver Springs Surgery, St Leonards, and NHS Hastings & Rother CCG’s clinical lead for health inequalities, said: “Helping young people to access services and support that will promote and protect their emotional wellbeing and mental health is extremely important.

“I am delighted that i-Rock’s fundamental principles of it being co-designed with local young people and health and social care organisations has been recognised as national best practice. I am proud to support i-Rock through the Healthy Hastings and Rother programme and wish it every success in continuing to improve health outcomes for children, young people and families, particularly from our most disadvantaged communities.”

i-Rock is open between 10am and 6pm on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and is based at Rock House, 49-51 Cambridge Road in Hastings.