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Information and advice for young people in Cornwall

Whatever challenges you are facing, there are local and national services who are here to support you.

Where can I go to get support with my mental health?

Help near you

Are you aged 11 - 19 years or up to 25 with Special Educational Needs & Disabilities (SEND) and feel you need some support around your mental health?

What Can Kernow Connect Offer:

Are you suffering with Anxiety, low mood, panic disorders, obsessive behaviours or changes in behaviours and feelings?  Our Wellbeing Practitioners can offer one to one cognitive behavioural support to young people aged 11-19 years. This age is extended up to 25 if a young person has a special educational need and/or disability.

You can self refer by completing our online referral form here.

Look at our 'get support' section too

If you need urgent support around your mental health you can see your GP/family doctor or contact CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services) on 01872 221400. For help out of hours you can call NHS 111 or dial 999/visit A & E in an emergency/crisis.

The ‘front door’ to Early Help services is led by Cornwall Council and Cornwall Foundation Trust.

Staff within the Early Help Hub will decide whether the child / young person is eligible for support and which service is most appropriate. This is usually in discussion with the person making the request and / or young person / family.

Children and young people who are aged pre-birth to 18 are eligible for this service. If a young person has a special educational need or disability, who have a need for early help care and support, this is extended up to age 25.

To request Early Help from Cornwall Council Children's Services call 01872 322277 

This website is created and run BY young people in Cornwall FOR young people in Cornwall

Start Now helps Headstart Kernow as film makers; board members; event organisers;  web designers; musicians; artists; interviewers and young people who want to help improve resilience and emotional wellbeing for all 10 - 16 year olds in Cornwall ... To tell you all about #HSKYouth and how you could #StartNow and get involved 

What is Headstart? 

HeadStart will spend the next five years looking at how to help young people with their wellbeing and how to stop young people from developing serious mental health issues. To do this, HeadStart is providing different types of help and support to young people in schools, online and where they live.

Every 10-16 year old in Cornwall is find out more click here to visit their website

Young People Cornwall engages, inspires and supports young people across the county, with youth work that makes a difference

Young People Cornwall knows what young people need. They’ve been successfully working with 11-25 year olds for almost 50years, encouraging thousands of young people to reach their potential. Set up in 1974 to help youth groups across the county, they’ve grown in size and scope since it started, but their ambition and drive stays the same.

Young People Cornwall are all about making waves. Giving young people a voice, building their confidence, boosting their creativity and opening doors to a brighter future – all in a way that works for them.

As a local charity with the skills and insight to support young people who live here, they now deliver a wide range of programmes and projects across Cornwall, as well as providing vital tools and resources to help existing youth groups and clubs to really fly.

Click here to visit their website and find out more!


For any mental health concerns you may need support and advice with.  Call them free on 0800 038 5300, any time day or night if you are worried about your own or someone else’s mental health.

If you're a child or young person who needs help urgently call Childline for free on 0800 1111 (up to and including 18yrs) - open 24hrs a day of contact in other ways

You can speak to the Samaritans on 116 123 or visit their site

Online help

Provides young people with tools to look after their mental health. Visit their website to get advice and information on what to do if you're struggling with how you feel. They empower parents and adults who work with young people, to be the best support they can be to the young people in their lives. And Young Minds give young people the space and confidence to get their voices heard and change the world we live in. Together, we can create a world where no young person feels alone with their mental health.

Public Health are also offering free online courses for residents of Cornwall. The Solihull Approach has a course for teenagers, Understanding your brain (for teenagers only!). The Solihull Approach aims to improve emotional health and wellbeing by supporting relationships ( The courses are written by CAMHS professionals, with other health and education workers. They are evidence based and accredited by the DfE.

Link to the courses  - - access code TAMAR

Help with sexual health

C-Card is a scheme for young people providing free condoms and lube plus chlamydia testing.

If you are 13-25 and live in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, you can visit a C-CARD registration service or register online (16+) to get your free C-CARD.

Registration usually takes about 10 minutes. You will be asked a few simple questions - how old you are, your postcode etc - and the provider will confirm that you understand how to use condoms effectively. All the information is confidential and will not be passed on to anybody else.

Once you have you C-CARD, you can visit any C-CARD point to pick up free condoms.

If you are aged over 16 you can register for your C-card online here. If you are under 16, you can register for a c-card by visiting your nearest outlet that provides the registration service. Click here to find an outlet near you.

For an up-to-date list of C-card distributors, try using the service finder on the Sexual Health Cornwall website. Make sure to select C-card from the drop-down list and filter the search using your local town or postcode.

If you’ve had unprotected sex (sex without a condom) or your method failed (missed pill or a split condom) you may be able to prevent pregnancy by using emergency contraception within the first five days.

The sooner you access emergency contraception, the more effective it will be.

If you have had unprotected sex or your method failed, you also need to consider STIs.

To find out where you can access Emergency Contraception in your local area use the service finder on the Sexual Health Cornwall website. Make sure to select Emergency Contraception from the drop-down list and filter the search using your local town or postcode.

If you are 16 or over, you can order the emergency hormonal contraception (the "morning after pill") online from SH:24 and receive it directly to your home or another location of your choice. This service is free for residents of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

SH:24 provide the same emergency contraception as sexual health services, GPs and pharmacies and their clinicians are on hand to carry out your initial consultation.

Please ensure you speak to someone before any decision making for support.

Where to access support and find clinics

Sexual Health for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly provide help and support for everyone in Cornwall to get the support they need. Access their website here for information on:

  • STI testing and treatment
  • Emergency contraception
  • Pregnancy testing
  • Condoms and the pill
  • Long-acting reversible contraception
  • HIV testing and referrals
  • Abortion referrals
  • Information and support

Support specifically designed for children and young people.

First Light is a charity which supports people facing domestic abuse or sexual violence. They will help you to access specialist services so that you have the best chance on embarking on a positive and healthy future. Young people have access to a range of services whilst working alongside their dedicated advisor, which may include help giving evidence in court.

The First Light website is open to people of any age, but support specifically designed for children and young people can be found here.

LGBTQ+ Support for young people in Cornwall.

YAY! Cornwall (Young and Yourself) The youth group for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Questioning young people up to the age of 25 who live, work or who are visiting, at school or college in Cornwall.

They provide a whole host of information on their website, and also arrange meet up nights and drop in sessions. For more info click here.

Anna Freud National Centre for Children & Families

The Anna Freud Centre has launched a new resource to support the mental health of LGBTQI+ young people. It includes advice & guidance on a range of topics that might impact on their mental health.

Click here to find out more.

Help with housing and homelessness

Cornwall Council can provide advice, information and assistance for your housing and homelessness queries

Cornwall Council can provide advice, information and assistance for your housing and homelessness queries. This might involve things like rent arrears, illegal eviction, seeking private rented accommodation or applying to Council waiting lists. They can also help with information about your housing rights, and next steps if you have been threatened with homelessness or are experiencing homelessness.

Advice for young people aged 16-24 can be found here. You may find it helpful to speak to someone about these things so check out the supporting organisations and fact sheets listed on the page as their will likely be an organisation supporting others in a similar situation to your own.

To find out more, speak to Housing Options on 0300 1234 161, or contact your youth worker.

Cornwall has a range of supported accommodation such as Foyers. for young people aged 16-24 who with support needs are threatened with homelessness These often have support staff based on-site that can help with education and employment. You must stick to the rules and to your development plan to stay at the project. They will help you to move on to more independent living when you are ready.

To find out more, speak to Housing Options on 0300 1234 161, or contact your youth worker.

Shelter have created an advice page for young people having family problems who are considering leaving home. Check out their page by clicking here to learn more about the help you could be entitled to and to view their handy benefits calculator.

Shelter have created an advice page for young parents to better understand the housing options available to them. Check out their page by clicking here to learn more about help from to Council, Social Services, housing options and rent payments.

Shelter have created an advice page to support care leavers navigate their housing options. Their page explains what Council Support you might be entitled to and when you can leave care, it also details steps you could work through with your personal advisor like creating a pathway plan and thinking about your weekly budgeting. Visit

If someone is being violent or abusive towards you, you must seek help right away.

There are a number of agencies who can assist you, including perhaps finding you a safe place to go. Some of these are listed below:

  • Childline: 0800 1111 free 24 hour support helpline for children and young people
  • Womens Aid: 0808 2000 247 free 24 hour helpline for victims of domestic violence
  • Housing Options: 0300 1234 161
  • Truro Young Women’s Centre
  • YMCA

Help with apprenticeships

An Apprenticeships is a fantastic way to obtain qualifications whilst you work through Hands-on training.

One day a week is usually set aside for study, often at a college, university or with another training provider. The rest of the week is then spent applying your knowledge and skills in the actual workplace. At the end of your apprenticeship, you’ll gain official certification, which will be equivalent to traditional qualifications.

The different Apprenticeships levels are equivalent to traditional qualifications. See below:

  • Level 2 (Intermediate): GCSEs
  • Level 3 (Advanced): A-levels
  • Level 4 (Higher): foundation degree
  • Level 5 (Higher): foundation degree/first year of bachelor’s degree
  • Level 6 (Degree): bachelor’s degree
  • Level 7 (Degree): master’s degree

Apprentices must be aged 16 or over, living in England and not in full-time education. There is no upper age limit.

As an apprentice, you’ll earn a wage. The current minimum wage rate for an apprentice is £4.30 per hour. This applies to people under 19, or people aged 19 or over who are in their first year of their apprenticeship.

If you’re an apprentice aged 19 or over and have completed your first year you must be paid the national minimum wage for your age. The national minimum wage is currently set at:

  • £6.56 per hour for 18 - 20 year olds
  • £8.36 per hour for 21- 22 year olds
  • £8.91 per hour for those aged 23 and over

It’s important to note that whilst these wages are minimally required, Employers often set their salaries using higher rates, depending on company policy.

If you are looking for an apprenticeship in Cornwall, there are many to choose from! Have a look below to find out what opportunities are available for you.

You can browse these websites to find local Apprenticeship vacancies: 

You can also access apprenticeships through different training providers and colleges, who can help you with finding an appropriate apprenticeship, CV writing and interview skills.

If you can’t find the right Apprenticeship for you, think about contacting or writing to local employers with your CV to ask if they’d consider taking you on as an Apprentice, or at least provide you with some work experience. If you are in school or college your teacher or careers adviser can help you find and apply for apprenticeships.

You can also get advice with writing applications, creating a good CV and covering letter here.

Help with benefits

To find out if you are on the correct benefits, or if you are claiming everything you are entitled to, please check out the benefits calculators below.

Use one of the following:

  • Turn2us- for information on income-related benefits, tax credits, Council Tax Reduction, Carer’s Allowance, Universal Credit and how your benefits will be affected if you start work or change your working hours
  • Policy in Practice- for information on income-related benefits, tax credits, contribution-based benefits, Council Tax Reduction, Carer’s Allowance, Universal Credit, how these are calculated and how your benefits will be affected if you start work or change your working hours
  • entitledto- for information on income-related benefits, tax credits, contribution-based benefits, Council Tax Reduction, Carer’s Allowance, Universal Credit and how your benefits will be affected if you start work

These are free to use, anonymous, and have replaced the Benefits Adviser service.

Universal Credit is a monthly payment designed to help with your living costs.

You may be able to get it if you’re on a low income, out of work or cannot work. See eligibility criteria here.

If you already receive other benefits it’s important to note that Universal Credit is replacing the following benefits:

  • Child Tax Credit
  • Housing Benefit
  • Income Support
  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Working Tax Credit

You can read more about this here.

Your rights

Rights are something that everyone should have, no matter how old you are, where you live, how much money you have or what religion you follow. Children and Young People have a special set of Rights called the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child or UNCRC. There is also a law in England called the Children Act 1989, which says adults need to keep you safe.

Your rights include:

  • Being able to say what you think and feel, be listened to and taken seriously
  • To have your best interests put first when decisions are being made about you
  • To grow up healthy
  • To have an education
  • To have a good enough standard of living, such as having somewhere to live, food to eat and clothes to keep you warm
  • To be protected from abuse, violence, bullying and harm
  • To be treated equally and not be discriminated against
  • To have your cultural background and identity valued

Here is a summary of all your rights

If you think that your rights are not being met, try to talk to someone you feel safe with about this so they can help you have your rights upheld and your views and wishes heard. This could be a teacher, family member, social worker, advocate or youth worker. You can also call a helpline like ChildLine for advice.

Always remember that everyone has rights, so you can help others by respecting their rights too.

The UK has ratified (officially signed up to) the UNCRC. But this does not guarantee that the rights in it will be respected and fulfilled. This is because the Convention is not yet incorporated into English law. In November 2021 Cornwall Council agreed to develop a Children’s Rights Approach. This is a commitment to integrate children’s rights into everything the Council does.

Find out more about your rights.