A local housebuilder is supporting a Bicester-based charity in providing mental health support for young people.

The housebuilder, Bellway South Midlands, has donated £500 to Nai’s House, which will go towards the renovation of the charity’s new premises at Garth House, off Launton Road.

Gemma Barrett, founder of Nai’s House, said: “We are so grateful for Bellway’s generosity and support to Nai’s House.

“We want to be able to provide a safe and welcoming environment for our visitors and this donation will help us do that.”

Barnett founded the charity in 2017 in memory of her daughter Dené, who took her own life after a long battle with her mental health.

The charity opened its doors at Kingsmere Community Centre in September 2019.

Barnett said: “We have faced a lot of challenges – especially with Covid meaning we had to shut down, but we have started to gain momentum again and moved premises to Garth House.

“The main work we do is to provide one-to-one support and counselling for those struggling with mental health and suicide ideation.

“We are in the process of developing our relationship with local schools to start working with them to help their pupils.”

The renovation work will include soundproofing to ensure the confidentiality of conversations between visitors and volunteers.

The charity says they offer a holistic approach to mental health, including massages, reiki, aromatherapy, yoga, meditation and similar activities, which they say ‘distract sufferers minds from their self-destructive thoughts’.

Barnett said: “We think of creative ways of working with young people and concentrate on well-being and youth work, as our volunteers aren’t from a clinical or medical background.”

Apart from supporting those struggling with mental health, the charity also offers support to parents and caregivers looking after someone with mental health conditions.

Elaine Brown, Head of Sales for Bellway South Midlands, said: “Gemma and her volunteers work for free, many alongside a full-time job, and the charity relies solely on fundraising and donations from the council and businesses like Bellway.”

She added: “The past year has been difficult for many young people, as they’ve not been able to socialise or interact with others, and this has had a negative effect on some people’s mental health.

“Coupled with the lack of events allowed to go ahead due to restrictions, fundraising has been next to impossible for many charities such as this one, which is why we are glad to be able to help such a worthwhile cause”.

To find out more about Nai’s House, visit naishouse.org.uk.