The Secretary of State for Education visited Hastings to hear how the town has benefited after being announced as one of 12 Opportunity Areas in the UK.
Damian Hinds was invited to Hastings by MP Amber Rudd, and the pair visited Sussex Coast College to learn about the mental health support services available through the Opportunity Area programme.
Last year, the Department for Education announced that Hastings would become one of 12 Opportunity Areas across the UK and receive a share of £72 million of funding to increase the opportunities available to young people.
On Friday (May 18), the Secretary of State announced that Hastings will receive a £600,000 annual investment from the Opportunity Area towards extending mental health services to both young people and their parents. The funding will develop the advice and support services available for young people in Hastings to improve their emotional wellbeing at home, school or further education.
During the visit, Ms Rudd and Mr Hinds met with local students to talk about how they have been supported by the i-Rock mental health service throughout their education. The pair also met with the Opportunity Area Partnership Board and local headteachers to discuss the challenges and how these may best be addressed to allow for local students to have the best education possible.
The Hastings MP said: “The additional funding which will be going expressly towards mental health services in Hastings was a fantastic way for our community to mark Mental Health Awareness Week. The funding will allow for improved training for school staff and increased access to local services meaning that our young people have the support available to thrive in their education.
“I will continue to work closely with the Opportunity Area Partnership Board, the Department for Education and local schools to ensure our young people are supported in the best possible way through their education.”