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 all students are now working from home, receiving academic sessions, mentoring and therapy online.

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

But students are increasingly 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.

To many, Red Balloon is their connection with the outside world. They need our support daily, not to mention in the middle of an unexpected and life changing pandemic.

With your help, we would like to be able to offer more online and telephone mentoring and therapy to students who are understandably anxious at the moment, concerned about their transition on to further education, their own health and that of their loved ones. We would also like to offer additional support to parents too, who are working so hard to support their children’s well-being.

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