Young people Feeling Good thanks to £20,000 cash boost
Children and young people across Hertfordshire will be mastering mindfulness, enjoying African drumming and getting active outside to mark February’s Feeling Good Week.
A £20,000 funding pot is being shared between 44 projects to improve the physical and mental health of children and young people in Hertfordshire during the week, which starts on Saturday 18 February.
Feeling Good Week is a Hertfordshire-wide event that sees schools and the wider community promoting young people’s emotional wellbeing, raising awareness of mental health and where to access support with the school community.
A group of young people from Youth Connexions Hertfordshire judged which schemes should be funded from the pot earmarked by the county’s two NHS clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) and Hertfordshire County Council, with bids submitted through Healthwatch Hertfordshire.
Dr Prag Moodley, a Stevenage GP who leads on mental health services for East and North Hertfordshire CCG, said: “A lot of the projects will have a long-term impact on young people’s emotional wellbeing, which is what Feeling Good Week is all about. Many schemes include talking about mental health and the fact that anyone can suffer from a mental health problem.”
Dr Rami Eliad, a Watford GP who leads on services for children and young people for Herts Valleys CCG, added: “As part of Feeling Good Week 2017, we are launching a new website called Healthy Young Minds in Herts which will help parents and carers, professionals and young people find advice on emotional wellbeing services in Hertfordshire.”
Youth Health Ambassador at Healthwatch Hertfordshire, Frankie Walsh said: “We had so many creative ideas. Lots of them were aimed at reducing the stigma surrounding mental health and emphasising that it’s OK to ask for help.”
A special ‘Room in Mind’ is being set up for pupils at Welwyn Garden City’s Sir Frederic Osborn School as part of Feeling Good Week.
The Herns Lane secondary is using its £500 Feeling Good Week funding to kit-out a calming space with comfy furniture, a computer for students to access online counselling service Kooth.com and other self-help websites, plus useful advice packs.
Sue Akers, school safeguarding officer and mental health lead, said: “Our Room in Mind will be a lovely space for students to go at break or lunchtime and meet with their mind mentor or go online for support and information. This project is part of our whole school approach to emotional wellbeing as we encourage everyone to talk about mental health so that it becomes less of a stigma.”
Hitchin Football Club is organising a 'Young, Homeless but not Goal-less' project for homeless young people in Hertfordshire. They will be supporting and mentoring homeless young people, using their £500 Feeling Good Week funding to pay for training sessions, match day tickets and hot meals.
Community and development manager Mark Burke said: “The members of Hitchin Town FC U19's team helping deliver the project will have gained valuable work experience, a boost in their self-confidence, an insight into life of a young homeless person and the pitfalls of being homeless.”
In East Herts, Hoddesdon and Waltham Cross, projects granted funding include forest school fun at Greenfield Early Years Centre in Waltham Cross and a Feeling Fabulous Friday for sixth-formers at Hoddesdon’s Robert Barclay Academy.
Year 7 pupils will be easing younger children’s anxieties about moving on to secondary school as part of a special project in Bishop’s Stortford. Schools partnership group, Aspects, is inviting young people who started secondary school last September to share coping tips with some Year 6 primary school children, who may be particularly anxious about the transition, at Thirst Youth Café in the town later in June.
“We know that many children find the transfer to secondary school challenging,” explained Aspects manager Philippa Roy-Chowdhury. “They can quickly become anxious and this impacts on their learning and social development.
“In our project, an Aspects family support worker will meet some current Year 7 pupils, ask them to reflect on the worries they had as they moved to secondary school and recall the solutions they found. These Year 7 ambassadors will then meet some Year 6 pupils from each primary in our area to share their advice ahead of this important milestone moment.”