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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.”

Projects in East Herts, Hoddesdon and Waltham Cross 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, thanks to Feeling Good Week funding.

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.”

She said all children involved in the project will experience increased self-esteem and confidence.

Every pupil, from Reception to Year 6, in Harpenden's St Dominic Primary School enjoying an African drumming workshop. The school council bid for £500 to pay for nine classes to take the workshop over a couple of days during the week, with a show for parents at the end.

Parent governor Jemma Thomas said: “The school council met and had a great time discussing what would make everyone at school feel good! At the end of our discussion, they voted and African drumming was the most popular. They all agreed that something completely different, noisy and, importantly, that everyone would be able to do, would make the whole school feel happy. We were delighted to receive the Feeling Good Week funding and feel very lucky (and good!)."

Tring’s Dundale Nursery and Primary School, is buying three sets of interlocking scooters with their Feeling Good Week cash. The clever colourful scooters will perk up playtime at the Silk Mill Way school all year round – indoors and outdoors.

Teacher Lindsay Healey said: “We know that physical activity is proven to have a positive effect on children’s, and adults, mental health, and pupils asked for more outdoor equipment via the school council.”