ADHD charity praises council grants

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The ADHD Foundation at work

A Liverpool-based mental health organisation has praised the City Council after almost 30 arts grants were handed out to grassroots charities.

The ADHD Foundation was among the 27 recipients of council funds, costing the local authority over £120,000. With the council’s budget having been reduced by around a third by the Government’s authority measures, the ADHD Foundation congratulated councillors for finding room in the remaining finance for organisations such as theirs.

ADHD Foundation Chief Executive Officer, Dr Tony Lloyd, told JMU-Journalism: “Liverpool City Council values the necessity for child mental health awareness. Not many councils do because it’s not a statutory requirement.

“I have to say hats-off to them really, and not just because we were one of the ones that were successful in getting this grant. They give support to grassroots charities and they’ve responded to the needs of local communities, and particularly to groups who don’t often get a voice.”

Dr Lloyd continued: “Combining that opportunity with an arts-based agenda gives us the opportunity to reach an audience that we might never have reached. Truthfully, all credit to them.”

The monies are issued from Liverpool City Council’s “Culture and Wellbeing Grassroots Grants Programme,” and each recipient applied with a creative idea at its source to help spread the work that they do into local consciousness.

The ADHD Foundation plans to visit schools and youth clubs across the city, firstly to make T-Shirts with young people affected by Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. This will then be followed up with a “flash mob” in the city centre, with an expected 200 children appearing at a designated site to perform a choreographed dance routine.

Dr Lloyd said: “Effectively it’s a large public arts performance. It’ll be dancing, which is a great form of exercise and it’s good for psychological health. It’s a really positive way to get everybody to take notice.

Councillor Wendy Simon (c) Liverpool Design Festival/Creative Commons/Flickr

“As a young people’s mental health charity we’re able to create a powerful message using the arts as a way of engaging young people to understand the importance of child mental health. As a concept it really works.”

Dr Lloyd was keen to impress that the stigma attached to ADHD sufferers is entirely inaccurate.

The Foundation CEO told JMU Journalism: “A lot of people think it’s “naughty child syndrome,” but it’s a neuro-biological condition that has significant risk factors as far as long term mental health.

“There are lots of children and young people who are incredibly talented who have ADHD, and like many people with the condition they can go on to achieve their potential and enjoy good health with the right support.”

Dr Lloyd added: “Without that support there are a lot of children who fall through the net and end up getting into trouble at school. Any child suffering from this anxiety is going to act out what they can’t articulate. A great deal of children suffering from ADHD experience this anxiety because they have difficulty concentrating, difficulty sitting still.”

He concluded: “All children have the right to emotional wellbeing.”

Liverpool City Council’s cabinet member for culture and tourism, Cllr Wendy Simon, said: “It’s so important we continue to fund grassroots organisations which have such a diverse and creative approach to bringing culture to the heart of local communities across the city.“We had a fantastic response when we announced the grants back in August, with more than 100 organisations expressing an interest in securing funding for their project. It goes to show there’s a real appetite to use art to explore difficult and challenging topics.”


About Sam McDonnell, JMU Journalism