Recently, I met Rachel Chapman, Deputy CEO, and Graham Parfitt, the Recovery Hub Manager at The Matthew Project. The Project supports those seeking to give up narcotics but it is centred on the young in particular 15 to 18 and 16 to 24 depending on the group that they join. Both Graham and Rachel explained that since Covid the deterioration in people’s mental health has been significant and has caused more problems for them to deal with.

This sobering meeting showed how the past 12 years of Tory austerity have gutted social protections and support structures for those young people needing considerable help. To list two of the many issues: there are no Youth Clubs now, and Social Services have been significantly weakened.

The Project now faces severe financial problems as the 40 different agencies which support the trust financially will not be doing so in 12 months’ time unless something radical happens.

Together we went through some of the 40 agencies which support the Project, such as Building Better Opportunities and Local Authorities. The Matthew Project already know some will definitely cut financial support in a few months but fear nearly all will within 12 months.

Rachel and Graham are extremely concerned for the young people they support and for their staff, saying they had never seen anything like this before.

One glimmer of hope was meeting Richard Walsh (pictured here with me), a fantastic success story for the Project, who is now studying at the Norwich University of Arts.

Richard Walsh and Clive Lewis MP
Richard Walsh and Clive Lewis MP
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