Off The Record: supporting young people in Bath

Every year we ask our staff to research and discuss local charities, before deciding to which we should pledge our support and donations. In the second of two blogs, we introduce a charity that supports young people in Bath, helping with a wide range of issues affecting mental health and wellbeing.

During these tough times, we have found Off The Record to be a ray of positivity, to the extent that our entire team wanted to pledge our support to them for a second year running. The charity’s Head of Resources, Katherine Lingham, kindly took the time to tell us more about the vital work they do.

Tell us about Off The Record…

We are a mental health and wellbeing charity supporting the young people of Bath and North East Somerset and beyond, powered by 21 volunteers, 22 counsellors, and employing 37 people. Set up in 1994, we want every young person in our area to be emotionally healthy, confident and empowered in themselves. We help them to achieve this by providing counselling, listening support and a variety of other service, including LGBTQ-specific support, advocacy for young people in care and participation services encouraging young people to be active citizens in their community.

Many people may be unaware of the extent of the issues faced by young people in the Bath area. Can you tell us more about these issues?

In 2020-21, we saw the highest ever demand for our services and helped over 2,100 young people. All our services are free and open to any young person in need in our area.  Referrals for the most serious issues, particularly relating to self-harm, suicidal thoughts and family relationships, continue to rise, but we see young people presenting with an array of concerns such as anxiety, depression, abuse, anger, questions about gender, and bereavement.

Our work with them has led to consistent improvements in young people’s communication, confidence, resilience, aspirations, determination, and the prevention of future mental health problems.

What kind of support do you provide?

Counselling and Listening Support Services are there for young people at breaking point, who’ve been dealing with painful circumstances or serious mental health conditions.  We provide confidential sessions in a comfortable setting to turn around a young person’s outlook.

Advocacy helps those going through traumatic experiences such as family breakdown, helping to protect children thrown into situations that they will struggle to navigate alone, such as being removed from their families and placed into the care system.

Participation services support young people who want to change the world around them, involving them in meaningful projects that contribute to our community, to help give them purpose and the support bubble we all need.

Our LGBTQ services support LGBTQ young people, who research shows are disproportionately impacted by mental health difficulties, particularly related to loneliness or social pressures. We offer resources, advice, 1:1 sessions and a community for young LGBT+ people through our weekly group sessions.

What are your hopes for the future of Off The Record?

Of course we hope to go from strength to strength and continue supporting the young people of BaNES.  We’ve just launched our strategy for the next five years and a particular focus will be to work with more boys and young men, and also more young people from more challenging socio-economic backgrounds. We also hope to begin rolling out a training arm to our services, enabling other organisations to confidently address the areas that we are expert in, for example LGBTQ matters, exam stress and communications with young people.

How can people help to support the charity?

To support us you can:

  • donate to keep our vital services free of charge
  • subscribe to our newsletter so we can send happy news to your inbox once a month
  • follow our social media to keep an eye on future events and opportunities, and share them with parents, guardians and young people you know.
  • volunteer to become a Listening Support Worker or help at one of our youth groups – please email

You can find Off The Record on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

The Off The Record website can be found here.

Our thanks goes out to the kind staff and volunteers at Off The Record not just for providing helpful information for this blog, but of course for the incredible work they do in our community.

Toby Martin

Toby holds a Level 3 ARLA Propertymark qualification and runs the 'engine room' at Reside, making sure that properties are perfectly-presented and that they are let quickly at a good rent. When not working, Toby is happiest when enjoying a day's cricket.