About The Link CIC

The Link is an award-winning Community Interest Company based in the North-East that provides early intervention therapeutic and support services to children and young people experiencing emotional distress and mental health problems.  Their support prevents further deterioration in young people’s mental health, which would otherwise require expensive specialist provision.

The social enterprise was set up by Tina Jackson, who previously worked in CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services).  She was commissioned to look at the care pathways of 13 young people who had fallen through the ‘CAMHS’ net and into high cost secure accommodation, as all had presented with extreme and risky behaviours in the community.

The most significant finding was the lack of early intervention support when the families first presented, and lack of joint working.  After a Needs Assessment to map existing provision for young people with emotional wellbeing/mental health problems, The Link was established in 2010 as a pilot to meet the gaps in services.  They operated initially on a one year basis with a budget of £35k and two seconded workers.

Challenges facing the charity

The Link was incorporated as a Community Interest Company in 2011 and has now grown into an award winning social enterprise operating across the North East that supports 1,000 young people and carers each year.  This rapid growth has created many challenges that they were seeking to resolve with support and funding from CAF Resilience, as explained by their founder and CEO:

"We were running flat out and not seeming to get anywhere, constantly reacting to financial crises. We had lost our lottery funding in December 2016 and had to make some redundancies.”

The Link article photo

The Link CIC and CAF Resilience

In the wake of a major grant ending and ongoing public funding cuts, The Link sought help from CAF Resilience to achieve long-term sustainable growth by proving the longer-term benefits of its services to commissioning agencies and the wider public.

The initial grant from CAF Resilience has funded for some much needed time for senior staff to plan for future sustainability and put systems into place.

"The biggest unexpected benefit is the time to reflect and do things that we haven’t had time to do previously…Personally being able to stand back and see what I need to improve myself in terms of my own practice and management style.”

The Link CIC used quite a lot of their funded time on the Programme to do significant housekeeping on their ‘back office’ which freed up significant staff time, provided better reporting and enabled their first ever impact report. They feel that they have greater clarity of direction, are less reactive and approach challenges in a more strategic and efficient way.

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