A TORY politician said Government funds for mental health services were not being seen ‘on the front lines’ as he vowed to ask questions.

Last week, the MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, Simon Clarke, joined the founder of The Big Issue in visiting The Link in Redcar.

He joined Lord John Bird in pledging to support the organisation, which offers support to young people with mental health problems and their families.

After hearing about The Link’s struggle to obtain secure funding, Mr Clarke said he would be taking their plight further as he expressed his intention to become “a good friend” to its team.

The Link has had to restructure the way its team works to account for funding losses and redundancies in recent years.

Since January, it has seen a 15 per cent reduction of hours across all departments, redundancies to the equivalent of three full time employees and a loss of capacity within its management team.

Redcar’s former Liberal Democrat MP, Ian Swales – who now serves as The Link’s chair of trustees – said: “In today’s climate, it is very difficult to get these kind of services fully funded.

“We’re highly valued by the local community but the reality is that there’s a large number of children on our waiting lists and great difficulty in maintaining our current levels of service without further funding."

In October 2017, the Department for Health launched the £15m Beyond Places of Safety fund to better support those at risk of experiencing mental health crises and to improve services, with a focus on preventative measures and new approaches to care.

Mr Clarke said he wanted to ensure such funds were going where they were most needed, adding: “What we see in places like The Link is the best of compassionate provision, aspiring to provide an incredible level of service to people who are in need.

“After our meeting, I will be working out exactly where the additional money that the Government has allocated to tackle mental health problems goes, in particular young people’s mental health problems, as it is not being seen on the front lines. I’ll be asking questions and making sure it does not get trapped in bureaucracy."