Heads Up! Mental Health Fund



YCF Heads Up! Mental Health Fund 2023

YCF’s Heads Up! Mental Health Fund is designed to address the mental health crisis among children and young people that emerged both during and in the aftermath of the COVID-19 lockdowns and the cost-of-living crisis. The fund also provides the opportunity for YCF members to strengthen the capacity of their own staff.

Research by YoungMinds has shown the crisis among young people’s mental health that is currently being experienced. 1 in 6 children aged five to 16 were identified as having a probable mental health problem, less than 1 in 3 young people with a mental health condition get access to NHS care and treatment and 80% of young people with mental health needs agree that the COVID-19 pandemic has made their mental health worse.

The Heads Up! Mental Health Fund aims to provide grants to member organisations delivering: play or youth work that supports the wellbeing of young participants.

The fund can also be used to support training and support for staff working with children and young people around mental health.

These may include but are not limited to:

  • Education on supporting children and young people with their ability to better understand and manage their own thoughts and emotions
  • Education on strategies to improve mental health
  • Activities that improve the confidence and self-esteem of participants, through developing new skills or trying new experiences, for example
  • Activities that improve the social confidence of participants and reduce loneliness
  • Motivational programmes that empower children and young people to face challenges and not feel overwhelmed
  • Traditional therapy delivered by qualified professionals
  • Group discussion sessions
  • Buddy or mentoring schemes
  • Programmes that support children and young people with accessing mental health services that are available
  • Community or nature-engagement programmes
  • Education on improving participants’ relationships with social media and the online space

We also encourage member to apply for funding to provide staff/regular volunteers with mental health training. This includes, but is not limited to, youth mental health training and mental health first aid training.

Members are welcome to submit an application that includes both project work and training for staff/volunteers.


Please note, as with all YCF funds, the Heads Up! Mental Health Fund is only open to applications from full YCF members.

We will not be able to accept applications from organisations who have not yet applied for full membership or whose membership is still being processed.

If you are not a full member and would like to apply for a grant, you will need to submit a membership request, and only once this process has been completed and your membership has been approved should you complete and submit an application for funding.

Funding from the Heads Up! Fund will be considered for the following purposes (though this is not an exhaustive list so do get in touch if you have any questions):

  • Youth or play worker wages (up to £21 per hour (including on costs)) during the delivery of the above
  • Food and meal provision for participating children and young people during the delivery of the above
  • The commissioning and delivery of education, workshops or trainings for young people
  • Course fees for youth or play workers looking to gain a qualification or education in mental health care or first aid
  • Resources that support the delivery of the project
  • Admission and tickets costs for relevant excursions and off-site visits
  • Costs for transport (either coach or public transport) to said excursions and off-site visits, where reasonable
  • Costs for staff time carrying out research, planning, data collection and reporting (up to 15% of total requested amount)
  • Funding to cover mental health training for staff or regular volunteers

We will not be able to fund:

  • Core costs beyond what is described above
  • Regular youth work or play provision that your organisation delivers normally
  • Venue hire costs except where needed for the delivery of work
  • Summer camp/holiday programmes
  • Training on topics that are not mental health or wellbeing-related
  • Training for staff or volunteers that you do not already regularly work with

The maximum grant amount that will be considered is £3,000.

The application window will open on Tuesday 2nd May and will close at 5PM on Friday 2nd June. Applicants should receive an outcome of their applications during the w/c 19th June. All funded projects/work will be expected to have been completed by Sunday 17th December 2023.

We will be hosting a webinar to provide more information on the fund and answer questions from interested applicants on Wednesday 10th May, from 11:00-12:00. This session will be recorded and accessible to watch afterwards. You can sign-up for the webinar via this link. After 10th May, please contact us to receive the recording.

If you have any questions, please contact Sam at grants@youngcamdenfoundation.org.uk.

To apply, please click this link here.