16 local families helped by Family Compass CIC

Family Compass co-founders Keda Johnstone and Lucy Capron flanked by PJM Fund trustees Philip and Helen Milton

Family Compass co-founders Keda Johnstone and Lucy Capron flanked by PJM Fund trustees Philip and Helen Milton - Credit: PJM Fund

A group that has supported local children and their families through some of the toughest times in their lives has been able to make a real difference thanks to grant funding. 

Family Compass CIC has given mental health support to children and families across North Devon and Torridge through its new Inhale/Exhale project. 

It has been made possible thanks to grants from The Philip J Milton & Company Plc Fund, administered by Devon Community Foundation, as well as Fullabrook CIC, Tesco Community Fund and local councillor community grants. 

A total of 16 families across the area have received support, some still ongoing, each getting 12 sessions with trained therapists and counsellors. 

The programme offers children and their families a range of services, tailored to their own needs. 

This can include counselling, therapy sessions and helping young people to develop skills such as deep breathing, relaxation and mindfulness techniques, while helping them to explore emotional language. 

This gives them a greater understanding of their feelings and how to cope when they feel out of control. 

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Family Compass is also raising more funds for the project by offering its KiT (Keeping it Together) Wellbeing Boxes for Christmas and beyond. 

These activity boxes are for children to complete with adults and offer a range of fun activities while helping the child to learn about their brain, how to cope with their own feelings and to be prepared for tougher challenges in the future. 

Keda Johnstone, who co-founded the community interest company with Lucy Capron, said the funding had been much needed. 

“A huge thank you to all those whose grants made it possible for us to reach many local families who have been going through a difficult time. Plus, to all the amazing sponsored swimmers who raised money for us in August by swimming the equivalent of crossing the channel and back. 

“We have more grant applications lodged and next year we hope to be able to extend the service to help more than 50 families.” 

Philip Milton, managing director at Philip J Milton Plc, said: “Things are incredibly tough for people at the moment and the work Family Compass is doing with local families is exactly the kind of vital community work our fund is there to support. 

“It was inspiring to hear about this excellent organisation and I hope the families they have helped will be able to enjoy Christmas a little more as a result. 

“Working with Devon Community Foundation gives us an ideal conduit to be able to offer grants to smaller local groups or charities, who nonetheless make a real difference in their community.” 

For more information about Family Compass and how to buy a KiT Wellbeing for Kids box this Christmas, go to https://www.familycompass.co.uk

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