TWO friends have been awarded almost £10,000 for their mental health support service for young people in Bicester.

Gem Barrett, 43, and Emma Chamberlain, 38, set up Nai’s House, after the suicide of Ms Barrett’s 22-year-old daughter, Dené, from Bicester, in February 2017.

The award comes from the National Lottery Community Fund and will enable the pair to officially launch Nai’s House at the end of July which aims to support young adults with poor mental health, as well as develop community suicide prevention initiatives.

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Nai’s House will offer both drop-in and appointments-based counselling, key work support, holistic activities and workshops.

The service, which is open to 16-25-year-olds, will be provided at community spaces in Bicester and does not require a referral, so guests are free to go whenever they like.

Ms Barrett has a background working in youth services, having spent over ten years working with children and young people in a variety of settings.

She said: “We are thrilled that The National Lottery Community Fund has acknowledged the need for Nai’s House in Bicester and have awarded us funding.

“Now, thanks to National Lottery players, we can get on with our plans to help reduce the number of deaths by suicide, invest in the emotional and mental well-being of all individuals under the age of 25 and aim for our vision of unity through mental health.”

The pair are waiting to hear about one of the venues they would like to use, and if available, will hold four hour sessions on a Thursday and Saturday.

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Ms Barrett and Ms Chamberlain created Nai’s House around the understanding of the development of the teenage brain and, coupled with their own professional and personal experiences and knowledge, will offer easy to access support in a non-clinical environment.

The new funding will provide Nai’s House with the ‘springboard’ to launch their service and develop initiatives such as working with the charity, The OLLIE Foundation, to offer preventative training to the wider community; implementing crisis safe spots and community supporters.

Kieron Hogg, ambassador for Nai’s House, says: ​“This is a really exciting time for us as we get ready to launch Nai’s House and we are grateful to the National Lottery players for helping us get to this stage.

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"We are still looking for qualified counsellors and psychologists who can spare some time to volunteer with us, as well as holistic therapists and spaces around Bicester."

If you would like to get in touch with the team at Nai's House, email