Empowering young people in Bath

For the past 28 years, Off the Record (OFR) has been improving the emotional health and wellbeing of young people throughout Bath and North East Somerset (BaNES). We provided OTR with a grant from our Community Fund 2022 to help the charity provide its vital service.

We caught up with Louise Reeves, who is a Volunteer and Networking Supervisor at OTR, to find out more.

Tell us about Off the Record

We want all young people to feel emotionally healthy, confident and empowered. We aim to achieve this through providing a range of free services, including counselling sessions, listening support, youth participation activities, advocacy and specialist groups, support for care leavers and an LGBTQ+ focused youth group.

How do young people benefit from your support?

We offer our free and confidential support to any young person who would like it. We use a method of assessing psychological distress and monitoring the progress of those we work with. After receiving our support, most young people experience a significant drop in how much their mental health impacts their daily lives.

What does your role at the charity involve?

I oversee the charity’s Listening Support Services, which young people use to talk about whatever they want and express themselves without being judged. Counselling sessions are also available through this service which gives young people access to a qualified counsellor.

What do you enjoy most about your role?

I absolutely love working with young people. The job is incredibly rewarding – it is a complete privilege for a young person to put their trust in you and talk about things that nobody else knows, which helps to support them during a difficult time.

Have you seen the demand for support increase?

In 2021, we worked with more than 2,100 young people. We anticipate the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic will increase our referrals even further. We’re currently experiencing a 40% increase and expect this number to continue rising. Over the next five years, we want to ensure these people receive the support they need.

How will our funding support the charity?

The funding will go directly towards our Listening Support Services. With demand for our services continuing to increase, this funding will help us to reach more young people who require our support.