Up and coming filmmakers involved in regional charity Suffolk Life are to remake a timely mental health awareness film for young people, thanks to a donation from a local councillor. Charity Chief Exec Richard Stewart talks about why it is worth remaking two years on
It’s fair to say that 2020 was a challenging year for the third sector. And with education settings closing, too, it certainly didn’t make life any easier for regional charity Student Life, an award-winning platform for young people and made by young people.
But thanks to a £600 donation from Cllr Stuart Lawson, of East Suffolk District Council, the charity is now able to produce a timely new mental health awareness film for young people.
Richard Stewart, Chief Executive of Student Life, says: ‘The funding will be put towards the production and delivery of a remake of our very first mental health awareness film ‘Out of the Dark, Into the Light’. The original film was produced and shot at Kesgrave High School in 2018 and with Cllr Stuart Lawson’s valuable help, we aim to remake the film involving Film and Media students from the school once more.
‘The original film has been shown to over 12,000 young people across the south east of England over the last two years and the time is now right to show how the young people involved in our in-house production company have improved our production techniques during this time. Stuart has been a staunch supporter of Student Life since our first meetings in 2017 and we are ever grateful to him and East Suffolk Council.’
Student Life aims to advance the education and skills of young people by contributing to, and participating in, the production of a periodic lifestyle magazine – supporting their upskilling through writing, photography, filming and mental health ambassadors. The charity’s focus areas are based on 16 core subjects, which include sexual, mental and physical health. It also sets out to tackle the stigma and media stereotypes surrounding mental health, body image and bullying.
Despite the challenges of 2020, Richard says: ‘Our work continued remotely with our young people across Suffolk and Norfolk and it was decided that the time was right to remake our first ever mental health film; both to showcase the talent within our progressive, young film production team and once again, to give a platform to young people to express their emotions and share these across the region.’
As we continue to deal with the ongoing challenges of Covid-19, it has never been more important to raise awareness of mental health and put an end to the stigma that often goes alongside it
Cllr Stuart LawsonLocal ward member for Kesgrave
Cllr Stuart Lawson, a local ward member for Kesgrave, donated the money from his Enabling Communities Budget. He says: ‘I am a keen ambassador for mental health, especially in our young adults, and as we continue to deal with the ongoing challenges of Covid-19, it has never been more important to raise awareness of mental health and put an end to the stigma that often goes alongside it.
‘Student Life is a charity that does a lot of great work with young people to address this and I am so pleased to be able to help fund the production of this film as it will help deliver an important message to all young people in our communities – it’s okay to not be okay!’
East Suffolk Council’s Enabling Communities Budgets support activities delivered by community, voluntary and social enterprise organisations. In a response to Covid-19, all councillors allocated £1,000 from their 2020/21 Enabling Communities Budget towards a Covid-19 Hardship Fund. A further £45,000 was added to the fund from some budgets, though some councillors chose to donate directly to local groups.
This means a total of £306,000 has been allocated from the New Homes Bonus (funding generated through new houses built in the district) for 2020/21, giving each councillor a Enabling Communities Budget of either £5,500 or £6,500 to spend on community projects or to develop new projects in their ward to tackle local need.
Previous projects which have benefitted from the budget funding include play areas, village hall refurbishments and equipment, community events, projects supporting people with disabilities and the purchase of defibrillators.
Visit Student Life | A Deep Dive Into What Matters To You. Community groups wishing to apply for Enabling Communities Budget funding should contact their district councillor or visit www.eastsuffolk.gov.uk/enabling-communities-budgets.
Featured image: young film makers from Student Life working on previous films (credit: Student Life).