The COVID-19 crisis has changed our world beyond recognition. Our routines are disrupted, our social contacts curtailed and we are faced with months of uncertainty and worry ahead.

Students’ well-being is paramount so our ‘bricks and mortar’ Centres and Red Balloon of the Air (RBAir) – our blended online and face-to-face school – have followed government guidance and students are now largely working from home, receiving academic sessions, mentoring and therapy online. A few have been able to return to their Centres and participate in a socially distanced way.

We couldn’t be prouder of the way students and staff have pulled together as a team.

But students are understandably anxious, and their feedback echoes finding released by Young Minds. In their survey – carried out between 20-25 March 2020 – of 2,011 young people with a history of mental health, 83% said that the coronavirus and the public health measures designed to prevent its spread had made their mental health much or a bit worse.

We are concerned, more than ever, about our students’ mental health. Three out of four RBAir students, for example, have anxiety disorders ranging from Generalised Anxiety Disorder, OCD, separation anxiety and specific phobias, to PTSD.

We are able to offer some additional therapy and mentoring sessions, only possible thanks to charitable help.

And the pandemic has dramatically affected our donations, as events, fundraisers and meetings have had to be cancelled. Our income for the year is likely to much reduced and this could potentially impact our services in all sorts of ways.

We know that these are uncertain times and many people will be facing financial challenges. But if you could help during this crisis by making a donation, it would make a real difference. Thank you so much.