Our support

We have a variety of working partnerships who we support. 

During our first three years, we focused our efforts on supporting initiatives like Chat with Charlie. This was an online counselling service which we delivered in partnership with Mid and North East Essex MIND.

We knew that we wanted to extend our support to other projects across the UK that are helping young people with their mental health following the end of Chat with Charlie.

Project news

Here you will find all the latest news regarding our working partnerships and how the Charlie Watkins Foundation has helped them.

Previous projects

Chat with Charlie was an online chat services open to all students at the University of Essex. It offered a platform in which students were able to chat anonymously to trained volunteers 1:1. 

The service initially launched three days a week on the first anniversary of Charlie’s death. The response was phenomenal and showed that there was a need for an anonymous platform where young people can safely talk about their troubles.

It soon increased to seven days a week between 6pm and 10pm, run by trained volunteers from Mid and North East Essex Mind’s office.

Following the success of Chat with Charlie at the University of Essex, the service was rolled out to Writtle University College.

Working partnerships

Essex Community Foundation (ECF) (Reg. Charity No. 1052061)

We are very fortunate to work with Essex Community Foundation who undertake all the administration of CWF. 

The partnership enables us to organise fundraising activities and direct our support to charitable projects helping young people to tackle the mental health challenges they are facing. 

We are very grateful for ECF’s ongoing support without which the Foundation would not be where it is today.

Colchester and Tendring Youth Enquiry Service (YES)

Through our successful relationship with Essex Community Foundation, we are pleased to support a project run by the Colchester and Tendring Youth Enquiry Service (YES). 

YES works with some of the most vulnerable young people in Essex and helps to address their emotional needs; mainly through counselling, activities and other support. 

The charity has a long and successful track record spanning 30 years. In addition, it annually supports around 2,000 young people who are experiencing a range of issues contributing to mental health problems. These can include homelessness, bereavement, parental separation and divorce, domestic abuse, young pregnancy, bullying, and alcohol and drug dependencies. 

Our funding has meant that YES can provide a new project; helping young people to access the right support they need with a school navigator role.

Student Minds

We are working with Student Minds to further our shared objective: improving the mental health of young people through innovative preventative measures. 

Student Minds is the UK’s student mental health charity. It supports students and members of university communities to look after their own mental health, and create change. Student Minds also supports universities and students’ unions to work in collaboration with their students; to create strategies that consider mental health and wellbeing across every aspect of the university experience. 

To drive change at a national level, they create policy recommendations based on the real experiences of students. Above all, they seek to address the biggest gaps in knowledge; and to amplify the voices of students who are most at risk and face the greatest barriers to accessing support. 

The assessment tool we are funding will be co-created with students, empowering them to be part of the assessment process to recognise and reward universities seeking to gain the Charter Award Scheme accreditation as defined by Student Minds University Mental Health Charter. This encourages students to have a voice and put forward recommendations and improvements that need to be made. In addition, it allows them to pinpoint the issues their institutions are not addressing.

Charlie Waller Trust (CWT)

We are delighted to let you know that we are working with the Charlie Waller Trust.

In March 2021, we gave a grant to enable their experts to write a wide variety of Transition Guides for those leaving their existing educational establishment to go on to university. 

The last year has made it especially difficult for students to be able to cope with university life. Sadly, this has led to a significant increase in students experiencing mental health challenges.

The impact of lockdowns and increased economic problems has taken its toll on students in their final year of school/college education. Therefore, their mental health may not be as strong as it once was.

Together with the Charlie Waller Trust, we felt it essential that universities are able to offer a selection of Transition Guides written by experienced mental health professionals. It is hoped that the guides will support their students to cope with mental health challenges.

There will be a variety of Guides to help students from all backgrounds. These include diversity and inclusion, young carers, care leavers, LGBQT, international students, students with ACEs and students experiencing financial hardship.