Wellbeing Boxes for schools in Cornwall

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Cornish schools can now claim free wellbeing boxes, bursting with puppets, therapeutic story books, percussion instruments, cards and activities to promote the emotional wellbeing and resilience of children and young people.

It’s thanks to a partnership between HeadStart Kernow, Cornwall Council, Cornwall Partnership Foundation Trust (CAMHS), and with support from Tate St Ives.

The story books talk about grief and loss, loneliness, low self-esteem and anxiety.  Dr Margot Sunderland at the Centre for Child Mental Health says: “Many children and young people find it hard to talk about their feelings in everyday language. In contrast, once given art and play resources, they can reflect deeply about their lives, often in truly transformational ways. 

“In their talk- time with an emotionally available adult in school, I have repeatedly been deeply moved by their eloquence when using puppets, sand play objects, emotion cards and therapeutic stories.”

As a result of the pandemic, the need for resources to support mental health and wellbeing of children and young people has never been more prevalent. The long-term impact of the pandemic on the emotional and wellbeing needs of children and young people is something we have yet to fully understand, however we know that access to resources to help children will enable professionals to increasingly put their training and skills into practice.

This helps to ensure more children are provided with not only a trauma-informed emotionally available adult, but also the resources to help them to explore, grow and develop their emotions.

Cabinet Member for Children and Families at Cornwall Council, Barbara Ellenbroek, said: “Talking is important for anyone who may be struggling with their mental health and these will be a great resource for engaging young people.  I would encourage all schools in Cornwall to grab one of these boxes, because they are an important tool to support the mental health and wellbeing of our young people.”  

There has been a substantial investment in the training of educational and other professionals in Cornwall in recent years and there are now over one thousand Trauma Informed Practitioners as well as the Mental Health Support Team. 

This initiative between HeadStart Kernow, with funding from The National Lottery Community Fund, Cornwall Partnership Foundation Trust and Tate St. Ives will provide therapeutic resources to enhance the training and extend the skills of those working with children in schools.  Some children have sensory needs and Tate St. Ives has been pleased to complement this project with a specially designed bag by local artist, Melanie Chadwick along with supporting items.

Rachael Woodhead, Learning Curator from Tate St. Ives says: “Tate St Ives has been delighted to be involved in this important and forward-thinking project. Helping with mental resilience in children and young people, through engaging with creative activities, has been a key aspect of our Learning programme throughout the pandemic, and supporting the well-being of our community in Cornwall through engaging with art and their own creativity will always be an important part of our programme.”

Lorraine Joyce, HeadStart Funding Manager at The National Lottery Community Fund said: “As we continue to navigate through the effects of the pandemic, it remains so important that children and young people have access to the resources they need to improve their mental health. These Wellbeing Boxes will encourage children and young people in Cornwall to communicate their feelings with a trauma-informed adult, at a time when mental health and wellbeing is so important.”

The supplier, Hinton House Publishers Limited, have enclosed 5 x £75 Golden Ticket vouchers in 5 of the Wellbeing Boxes for added intrigue.

The Wellbeing Boxes will be available for schools to collect from 5 July.

Further information is available at www.headstartkernow.org.uk/training

Or by email tracy.bowers@cornwall.gov.uk

Posted 8 July 2021

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