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volunteers pictured with baubles in front of trees in Wimbledon Common

Wimbledon teenage mental health charity sets up wishing trees fundraiser

A Wimbledon-based charity have set up wishing trees in a local park to raise money for teenage mental health.

Stem4’s fundraiser invited the public to hang baubles, featuring a wish, on three trees in Wimbledon Common in return for a donation.

Over the last two weekends, volunteers Ali Love and Julie Lennon have run the project to help meet the charity’s £5,000 target on JustGiving.

Having had many fundraising events cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, the charity highlighted the acute impact that this year has had on young people’s mental health.

Data released by the NHS in July stated that one in six of 5-19-year olds in England had a probable mental disorder, up from one in nine in 2017, with other recent surveys raising concerns about the impact of lockdown on teenager’s wellbeing.

Unsurprisingly, hopes for an end to COVID-19 and a better 2021 featured on bauble messages, with others wishing for more love and happiness in the world.

The volunteer’s efforts have led to the original funding goal being well surpassed, with 293 donations raising £5,601 at the time of writing.

Dr Nihara Krause, stem4 CEO and Founder said: “Ali and Julie are doing a wonderful job in helping us by raising money this Christmas.

“Not only will their incredible fundraising endeavours go directly towards helping young people with their mental health, the very act of inviting the community to make a wish together after a very tough year is fantastic and heart-warming.

“The whole project has brought some much-needed Christmas cheer to Wimbledon, and I’d encourage anyone who can visit the common to see the result to do so.”

Dr Nihara Krause and Ali Love in front of one of the wishing trees
WISHFUL THINKING: Dr Nihara Krause (left), pictured with volunteer Ali Love, was presented with a Point of Light Award by David Cameron in 2015

A clinical psychologist, Dr Krause formed stem4 in 2011 to provide psycho-education to young people, as well as their families, carers and schools, with an emphasis on early understanding and intervention.

Through their website, workshops, conferences, and free apps, the charity pledges to reach 100,000 young people annually.

A free virtual conference run in November reached over 400 parents and carers in Merton and Wandsworth.

Meanwhile stem4’s Head Ed education programme, a teaching resource launched in July to cover mental health topics of PSHE, has been signed up to by 501 schools.

Their three mobile apps, each of which address a specific issue, have been downloaded over 2.1 million times across 197 countries.

Combined Minds helps friends and families provide mental health support, Calm Harm focuses on resisting self-harm, and Clear Fear specialises in managing anxiety.

Move Mood, aimed to help teenagers dealing with low mood and depression, is currently in development.

Those wishing to donate to stem4 can do so here.

Picture credit: stem4

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