Support for People With Physical & Learning Disabilities & Mental Health Issues: Delivery & Increasing Capacity

Bridging the Gap

“Bridging the Gap” is focused on upskilling staff at OnSide’s 14 Youth Zones to identify and address early signs of mental illness in the 40,000 young people OnSide supports, as part of its ‘Culture of Health’ initiative. Young people also have the opportunity to access 6-week issues-based workshops, one-to-one tailored support from Youth Zone staff, or work with a Health and Wellbeing Manager to secure specialist support from external agencies as appropriate.

The impact has been significant. Wellbeing is now part of the DNA of Youth Zones, and young people are accessing the help they need. 55 Mental Health First Aiders have been trained; 7,611 young people indirectly supported in 14 Youth Zones across the country.


“I struggle with my mental health, family issues and self-confidence; so when I knew I had a chance to get better, I asked for help. Something that made me start coming was realising I had to talk to someone, so I could get better. If I had to explain it, it’s like the world is really loud; it talks over how you feel, it interrupts your peace of mind, so when you go into a room with someone who finally focuses on just you. Now it feels like someone is listening to you, like finding your voice in the middle of the world’s messiness”

Young person receiving mental health support from a Youth Zone participating in Bridging the Gap

We are proud to support positive mental health. We understand the benefits of early intervention with young people, and the importance of providing them with the right tools and support to enable them to look after their mental health now and in the future
Hannah Jenkins, Culture of Health & Bridging the Gap Co-ordinator, Wigan Youth Zone