Marsh Award for Mental Health Peer Support: Young People

These Awards are run in partnership with Mind and wider Peerfest partners and recognise excellence in peer led support for those experiencing mental health problems.

Peer support happens when people work together, or support each other, from their lived experience. It can take place informally and formally, in all sorts of settings such as in user led organisations, projects, support groups and in the workplace. It means different things to different people. It may also be called self help, befriending/wellbeing groups, meet ups, or mentoring. It also can take place online through digital means.

This Award recognises peer support groups run by people under the age of 25.

Nominations for the Award are judged by an independent panel of people with peer support expertise, others with lived experience, and representatives from Peerfest partner organisations.

Change the Youth NW and Krimzz Girls Youth Club 2023

Change the Youth NW

Change the Youth NW emerged from a collective desire to empower young people from marginalised communities in Greater Manchester. The group was founded by passionate individuals who recognised the need for urgent support to address the challenges faced by young people in the area. Their aim is to provide a safe and inclusive space for personal growth, skill development and emotional well-being. The young people who attend are encouraged to explore their potential, build their resilience and access opportunities that may not be readily available to them. Change the Youth run a wide range of activities including sports coaching, creative workshops, mentorship programmes and community events. Perhaps their most impactful project is their residential programme which brings together over 80 young people for immersive experiences that enhance their personal development and encourage them to step outside their comfort zone and build new relationships.

Krimzz Girls Youth Club

Krimzz Girls Youth Club is run by members with lived experience, who have a deep and personal understanding of the issues they are addressing. This firsthand knowledge allows them to connect with others on a more empathetic and relatable level and empower them by demonstrating that recovery, growth, and change are possible. Their personal stories provide hope and motivation to those who are struggling and they offer tailored support and resources that address specific needs to others. The Club aims to promote social welfare and inclusion through recreational activities, health improving initiatives and educational activities. Their focus is on supporting girls from marginalised communities and those living in deprived areas of Bolton to help them improve their quality of life and to see themselves as confident members of their community. The Club has created a supportive environment where members feel understood and less isolated in their struggles, able to talk openly about their feelings whilst also engaging in a range of wellbeing activities.

Previous Winners

Championing Youth Minds and Da'aro Youth Project

Championing Youth Minds (Star Project) 

Championing Youth Minds is led by young people with a passion for promoting mental wellbeing, using their own experiences of mental health struggles to help others going through similar situations. The group is made up of people from diverse backgrounds, all with different experiences of mental health as a result of their upbringings. They work with young people in schools and universities who need assistance in managing their mental wellbeing on a daily basis. The group was founded on the belief that mainstream education does not teach young people enough about mental health and wellbeing, leaving them vulnerable to being negatively affected by events in their lives. Championing Youth Minds aims to educate young people to manage their mental wellbeing by the facilitators sharing tips and tricks that have helped them through their own experiences. They also work with existing organisations to add a young person’s voice to the conversations around mental health, in order that the needs of young people are heard and respected. 

Da’aro Youth Project 

Da’aro Youth Project is a community-and-Black-led organisation in London that supports unaccompanied child and young adult asylum seekers and refugees from countries in the Horn of Africa. It was established in 2018 by members of the Eritrean community in London in response to the deaths of a number of teenage Eritreans by suicide. Some members of staff have come from refugee or asylum-seeking backgrounds and therefore understand the pressure that these young people are under when they come to the UK. The young people attending the group often have limited trust in the authorities, and so a community-based approach to supporting them is a crucial starting point. Through the youth club, they provide psychosocial support and a space for young people to relax, socialise and enjoy activities related to their cultural heritage. The club also provides advice, support and a casework service which addresses issues personal to the young person.