A Richmond art charity has received thousands of pounds, which will go towards boosting mental health in young people.

Art & Soul will expand its work to help struggling youngsters in South-West London, following the award of a Baring Foundation grant of £8,000.

Currently, the charity's creative workshops support adults with mental health conditions, through exhibitions of their work and visits to galleries.

Trained art therapists run the sessions, which were held in person at the Exchange in Twickenham, but are now online following the pandemic.

Richmond and Twickenham Times: Painting of a beetle by an adult in Art & Soul's online workshopPainting of a beetle by an adult in Art & Soul's online workshop

However, the charity also wants to improve the wellbeing of young people, after a 2017 report highlighted that youth in Richmond-upon-Thames had the fourth-highest rate of hospital admissions from self-harm in London.

Co-chair of trustees at Art & Soul, Rachel Tranter, added that winning the grant was particularly timely, as experts predict a rise in youth depression as a result of the pandemic.

The money will fund a series of 25 creative workshops starting in October, reaching at least 50 local children.

Art & Soul will team up with local children’s mental health services, such as Achieving for Children, Richmond CAMHS (Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services) and voluntary organisations like Off the Record.

President of Arts Richmond, Sir Vince Cable, who is also patron of the charity, welcomed the award.

“I recall some outstanding exhibitions of art from vulnerable adults. Now they are branching out to children and young people which is all the more essential given the pressures on them from prolonged closure of schools and colleges,” he said.