AN ABINGDON charity that works with vulnerable teenagers is celebrating after being awarded more than £85,000.

The funding boost has come from Children in Need and will help The Abingdon Bridge (TAB) fund extra counselling sessions.

Bridge Street-based charity TAB offers a space for teenagers struggling with emotional issues to find independent confidential counselling support and advice.

The money comes at the perfect time for the charity, which is experiencing heavy demand and has five new referrals every week.

Last year, TAB held more than 1,000 sessions covering everything from counselling and drug awareness to housing and employment advice.

Over the next three years the mammoth £86,850 grant will fund two specialist counsellors to create an early intervention service, called The ABC Project, which will include one-to-one sessions and group work for young people facing problems such as anxiety, low self-esteem, depression and abuse.

Centre manager Gary Hibbins said: “Being a teenager can be extremely challenging and confusing.

"The ABC project will provide young people with a safe and supportive space and a professional relationship that allows them to explore the difficulties that are affecting their capacity to lead a fulfilling life, and give them the means to face the future with hope and confidence.”

Children in Need has also awarded £15,258 to Rosie’s Rainbow Fund to enable the charity to continue music therapy sessions for sick youngsters at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford.

The one-year grant will pay for young people to have lessons with musical instruments or have their day brightened with their own personal performance.

Grants coordinator Elizabeth Wirth said: “Children who have spent a long time in hospital due to a life-threatening or life-limiting condition can sometimes struggle to express their emotions, feel isolated, or generally anxious if they are receiving tough medical interventions.

"Thanks to this grant, which we have secured for a second time, we can continue to bring them some joy and relaxation at a time when they may need it most.”

Sessions are tailored specifically to the physical abilities and emotional needs of the children, and can take place in the hospital’s 'Rainbow Room,' in the patient's hospital room, or even at their bedside.

Depending on the child's need, therapy can be one-to-one, or as part of a group, and can also involve their parents and siblings.

Pam Bacon, BBC Children in Need regional head of the south and west, said: “We are so pleased to award funding to The Abingdon Bridge and Rosie's Rainbow Fund, and look forward to seeing the difference that their work will make in the lives of the children who need it most.

"Our grant programme is open to organisations that are as passionate about making a real and tangible impact to young lives as we are, and although competition for funds is always tough, we encourage projects working locally to get in touch if they want to learn more.”