Ignite Life – A spark to support the wellbeing of young people

Based in Kingswood, Ignite Life promotes and supports young people and their families throughout Bristol, Bath, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset, focusing on relieving the wellbeing and mental health needs of disadvantaged or marginalised young people. It aims to build stronger communities and tackle social isolation through its key services of counselling, mentoring and emergency food provision.

It’s estimated that over a million young people in the UK have a diagnosable mental health problem and as a direct result of the Covid pandemic, more young people than ever are struggling. In a UK survey of 2,111 young people with mental illness history, 83% of the respondents said that the pandemic had made their conditions worse. Ignite Life runs an independent counselling service which offers a safe space for young people to improve their emotional resilience and work through any historic issues, ensuring that more young people can access professional support for mental health services.

The charity also delivers mentoring programmes which provide new experiences and opportunities for young people, helping them to form positive relationships with adults and peers, and engage with education, employment and training. Examples of such services include tutoring, crisis support, access to exercise and acting as a liaison and advocate between young people, their parents and guardians, and education and funding providers.

Ignite Life also operates a successful food distribution project to help people address food poverty and economic inequality. The project promotes environmental sustainability, as it prevents food from going to waste. Since March 2020 it has saved over 80 tonnes of food from ending up in landfill. With the onset of the pandemic, the demand for emergency food delivery increased drastically; since launching in April 2020, Ignite Life has delivered over 80,000 meals and £2,000 in food vouchers.

The charity has responded to the worsening situation faced by its communities – increasing mental health challenges, a growing educational gap and deepening food poverty – by expanding its reach to support greater numbers of vulnerable people.

In January 2021 SMV was approached to help the charity lay the foundations to expand its services by providing £3,500. The funding went towards Ignite Life employing its first Fundraising and Research Manager, recruiting an additional counsellor and assisting with the operational costs of its growing food delivery service.

Over the last year, the funding has supported Ignite Life to increase its food delivery project, in partnership with FareShare South West and local organisations Kingswood Community Transport and BS15 Covid Community Support. The newly recruited counsellor has enabled the charity to offer mental health support to an additional 53 young people who have since benefited from short and long-term counselling engagement. The newly employed Fundraising and Research Manager has already raised a further £60,000.

Ignite Life is forging ahead with its growth plans, meeting even more needs and delivering greater impact to the vulnerable communities it serves.


Ignite Life’s food delivery operation is growing