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Cambridge-based charity wants people to face their fears and raise cash for children


By Adrian Curtis


A charity is encouraging people to tackle an obstacle or face a fear to raise money to help children cope with mental health issues.

Cambridge-based charity, Blue Smile, works with schools to improve the mental health and wellbeing for children aged from three to 13.

Penny Burchett and her colleagues at TTP in Melbourn are raising money for Blue Smile, from left Adam Bostanci, Sam Zacherino, Susy Hallewell, Rebecca Chan, and Katerina Bititsiou, with front centre Penny Burchett. Picture: Keith Heppell. (10441114)
Penny Burchett and her colleagues at TTP in Melbourn are raising money for Blue Smile, from left Adam Bostanci, Sam Zacherino, Susy Hallewell, Rebecca Chan, and Katerina Bititsiou, with front centre Penny Burchett. Picture: Keith Heppell. (10441114)

It is looking for volunteers who will go the extra mile to become Blue Smile heroes to mark mental health awareness week, which takes place until Sunday (May 19).

To launch the campaign, supporter and first Blue Smile hero, Penny Burchett conquered her fear by completing a skydive.

“It’s a choice to take on a challenge, but these children don’t have a choice,” she said. “They are faced with challenges every day – it’s just their situation. So, really a skydive should be a walk in the park for me.”

Penny completed the skydive on Sunday (May 5).

Blue Smile provides expert one-to-one therapy and mentoring to help children have happier childhoods and fulfil their potential.

The charity’s practitioners use arts-based therapies which engage the child in a non-threatening way, helping them to organise their feelings and process traumatic experiences.

Penny Burchett from TTP - The Technology Partnership, Melbourn who has done a parachute jump for Blue Smile.. (10441165)
Penny Burchett from TTP - The Technology Partnership, Melbourn who has done a parachute jump for Blue Smile.. (10441165)

Penny works for Melbourn-based TTP, which has chosen Blue Smile as its charity of the year for 2019. The firm has said it will double-match any money raised by its employees during 2019.

“My role at TTP is to head up the charity work and to try to get people involved. I thought if I’m doing that then I’ve got to put my money where my mouth is,” said Penny, who admits she’s never done “anything as mad” as a skydive before.

A number of colleagues will also take on challenges, while fundraising events will be held at TTP throughout the year.

Blue Smile works in schools across Cambridgeshire and has helped more than 1,000 children since it was set up eight years ago.

The charity’s newly-appointed chair, Cambridge mother-of-two Naomi Mallick, who is a director in the government’s legal department, is passionate about the work it does to help emotionally troubled youngsters and provide support to teachers.

She told the Cambridge Independent: “The idea of Blue Smile is to support children with early stage problems and help them thrive and develop because I know from my own experience of bringing up children that if a child is not happy and secure, they can’t learn. It’s about helping children achieve their full potential.”

“It’s so valuable,” she added. “My ambition is to maintain the brilliant standards that we’ve achieved – providing a clinical and ethical, high-quality service is really important to Blue Smile. I want to continue to invest in that and grow our services to support even more children across Cambridgeshire.”

Find out more about becoming a hero at bluesmile.org.uk.



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