CEO: "Help a large number of our local children"

This week sees us focus on National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week and as part of that I wanted to highlight some of the ways the Trust continues to support our local young people.

I was told by one of my colleagues a few years ago, that all our work is Mental Health and whilst Jason was absolutely correct, we have some provisions that focus on this subject a little more than others.

As part of our continued support to local primary schools, we deliver a programme called Unstoppable, to every Year 6 pupil across the town. This project has been very kindly supported by BFC owner Simon Sadler for the past two years and focuses on supporting the pupils by utilising the book written by Dan Freedman, Unstoppable, to look at some very relevant topics affecting our young peoples lives, including; Transition from Primary school to Secondary school, relationships with family members, right and wrong behaviours and when is the right time to keep a secret. All topics a number of our children face every day, which heavily effect their lives and mental wellbeing.

Last week, we also officially launched our new High School Hubs model which, with funding from the Local Opportunity Area Board, has allowed us to base a member of our staff in every secondary school, for two days every week. Their sole focus is to support pupils with their mental health, resilience and attitudes to school. The programme staff work with pupils identified in school, with one-to-one mentoring, small group sessions and also with in class support. It’s very much focused on making sure we find the correct support for each individual that is referred to us.

From a community standpoint we have continued to deliver our Tower Above programme, which has seen some tremendous results in the past nine months. The project works with young people on a one-to-one basis, that are referred into the service, due to being at risk of engaging in crime and anti-social behaviour. The hope here is that our involvement will push each young person on an alternate path and into positive activities.

Some of the young people engaged have continued to attend sessions, despite the lockdown, as guidance allows and have found their engagement with the Trust has been their main outlet for exerting some positive energy and genuinely changed their behaviour at home and in school.

We have also developed a fantastic timetable of activity for some of the most vulnerable young people in the town, via our PL Kicks programme, which allows them to come together in small groups to take part in physical activity and socialising with their peers.

Whilst there are a great deal of other programmes we deliver, throughout the year, that help children’s mental health, the pandemic and numerous lockdowns have intensified this even more and we hope the amount of virtual and face-to-face offers that we have put in place can help a large number of our local children and once restrictions begin to ease, we will do even more.