A LOCAL voluntary group created after the untimely death of a child has received official charitable status which they hope will help fight the high rates of suicide locally.

Bee Kind for Honey was created by Gemma Cook after her daughter Honey took her own life during lockdown at only 15 years old.

Since then, Gemma has been making journals aimed for people aged 11 and over and supplying them free of charge to help people find ways to express their thoughts and feelings.

This week she has received official charity registration, allowing her work to continue to grow.

She told the Chronicle: “It’s extremely hard to become a registered charity.

“There’s a lot of admin and hoops to jump through, but me and our trustees are so passionate about this cause, we worked tirelessly to make this happen.

“The prevention of youth suicide is so important to us all. Every child and adult should feel wanted and loved.”

In 2021 - when Honey died - the Chronicle reported that Barnsley saw the highest-ever recorded levels of suicide, with 41 deaths linked to suicide between mid 2020 to 2021.

In the following years this has dropped, with only 31 registered in 2022, however this still remains higher than in the three year period of 2017 to 2019.

Miriam Cates, the Conservative MP for Penistone and Stocksbridge, took the issue of young people’s mental health to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak earlier this year, and continues to petition for protections for young people from social media and smartphones which she believes are responsible for the ‘dramatic rise’ in teen mental health conditions.

The new charitable status for Bee Kind For Honey means that they are able to access additional funding grants from the government to provide not only more journals, but additional services such as their mental health festivals - which Gemma now plans to make annual - and in school support, as they join the growing fight against youth mental health problems and suicide.

“We also started making ‘mental health boxes’ including the journals and anxiety tools, small gifts and positive affirmations,” Gemma added.

“I now volunteer at Darton Academy doing sessions with students who need extra support. Now that we’re a registered charity it makes it easier for us to organise volunteers to go into other schools.

“It’s important for me and the charity to reach as man kids as possible, but I’m also happy because it’s made Honey’s name part of something bigger and put it into history.

“I miss Honey so much and the more children I help, the more purpose I have.”