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The Duke of Westminster visited the University of Oxford on 1st February to see first-hand the positive impact of funding research in mental health.

Co-SPACE, one of several projects funded by the Westminster Foundation, has just been awarded further funds to examine those who continue to be most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and develop responsive resources for parents/carers and organisations that support families.

Professor Belinda Lennox, Head of Department, said: 'We're delighted to welcome Hugh Grosvenor, the Duke of Westminster, to our department today. His Foundation has provided us with some vitally important funding through the COVID-19 pandemic.

'We've been able to prioritise research into children's and adolescent's mental health. Developing a real understanding of how life and experiences in and out of lockdowns and restrictions have affected young people and their families has enabled our researchers to provide resources to families and those involved with families (professionally and through charities), expertly contribute to wider policy and debate, support schools and help to improve children's lives.'

The generous funding received from the Westminster Foundation has so far helped:

• Develop the Co-SPACE (COVID-19 Supporting Parents, Adolescents, and Children in Epidemics) study
• Parents and carers to support their adolescents' mental health and wellbeing
• Communication with children about COVID-19 and other life-threatening conditions
• Develop the OxWell Student survey and its extension to Liverpool
• Understand how the pandemic has exacerbated high rates of mental health problems in Blackpool
• The O-ACE project: developing online culture to support mental health in young people

The Duke of Westminster, Chair of the Westminster Foundation said: 'The effect of the pandemic on the mental well-being of children has been a particular concern to me and the Westminster Foundation from the outset. The uncertainty and disconnection triggered by Covid has exacerbated an already huge need for support for children’s mental health. We are yet to see the full extent of its impact, but thanks to crucial research from the University of Oxford’s Co-SPACE study working with thousands of families and children, we can at least learn what support and services we need to create to protect children and young people over time.'

During The Duke's visit Professor Belinda Lennox, Cathy Creswell, Professor of Developmental Clinical Psychology, Associate Professor Polly Waite, and several other members of the Department of Psychiatry had the opportunity to discuss mental health research, the ever increasing numbers of those suffering from early onset symptoms, such as anxiety and depression, and the real potential to make life enhancing changes to the way people access and benefit from mental health support.

The Westminster Foundation, which represents the charitable activity of The Duke of Westminster and Grosvenor businesses, has generously supported the Department of Psychiatry with more than £1m of funding, as part of a total of £12.5m funding The Duke made available through the Westminster Foundation at the start of the pandemic for national COVID-19 response and recovery.