A new charity in Horsham has been created which connects families with children who have mental health problems.
The HOPE Charity Project, which stands for 'hold on, pain ends', has been running since last August, helping around 40 families with children aged 10 to 18 that are experiencing mental health issues up and down the country.
It is run by Worthing-born Claire Sparrow and her partner Paul Mant, who live in Horsham. Their approach is two-fold: a support and therapy centre in Southwater that offers face-to-face counselling and animal therapy, and connecting families that contact them nationwide that live near each other to build a network.
This could be by exchanging telephone numbers, or creating groups on social media, Claire said.
The 44-year-old said: "We want to create a space that gives families and younger people a place to be heard and voice their concerns, and give them guidance and emotional support."
They specialise in helping children affected by bullying, bereavement, gender dysphoria, eating disorders and high functioning attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder, among other conditions.
She said the charity had continued to grow over the last year and the highlight was seeing children get better. She said: "It is so rewarding to see young people confined to their own home or bedroom to come and venture out to our support centre."
Tomorrow evening, the charity is holding a dinner and entertainment at Long Furlong Barn in Worthing to raise funds for their cause.
Claire appealed to people to donate. She said: "They would be helping us to give a greater and longer-lasting support to these families that are in a situation that can last for years.
"We don't want to go anywhere; we are here to stay.
"Once people get in touch with HOPE, they are part of the family. We're not a '12 sessions and you're out' charity; we are here for you as long as it takes."
To donate to the charity, go to their website, hopecharityproject.org.