Young people and representatives from HeadStart Wolverhampton met with MPs and government officials in a learning event, organised by The National Lottery Community Fund on Tuesday 5 February, which was designed to celebrate the ground breaking work of the HeadStart programme across the country.
Mini Ambassadors from HeadStart Wolverhampton, aged 12 to 13, talked to MPs about some of the support available in Wolverhampton, and their own experiences with HeadStart.
Also in attendance was HeadStart Ambassador Cristina Wilde, who has worked with HeadStart Wolverhampton since the start of the programme and is now training to become a mental health nurse.
Cristina said: "HeadStart is a really important part of our community. It's all about the young people, with activities designed specifically for them. I feel really privileged to be a part of the HeadStart programme and, as an Ambassador, I have been able to influence the support offered across the city."
About the parliamentary event, Cristina added: "Mental health support for young people is so important. It was great to speak with MPs and other officials about the amazing work we do in Wolverhampton and how we can build on this in the future.
"Mental health affects everyone and it's important that support for young people is readily available. I'm excited to see what happens next, and how we can continue to support young people and remove the stigma attached to mental health."
Councillor Paul Sweet, City of Wolverhampton Council Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, added "The HeadStart programme, working in partnership with City of Wolverhampton Council, voluntary groups and other services across the city, has made great strides in embedding emotional wellbeing support in all aspects of a young person's life.
"The National Lottery Community Fund's learning event was a fantastic opportunity to raise awareness of all the good work going on in Wolverhampton to a wider audience. It's wonderful to see our young people engaging with MPs to discuss the importance of mental health support."
HeadStart Wolverhampton, part of a £56m programme set up by the National Lottery Community Fund, is designed to improve the emotional mental health and wellbeing of children and young people aged 10 to 16 by giving them the skills they need to cope with the challenges of modern life.
As well as running a series of specific programmes in its 4 key target areas, HeadStart Wolverhampton offers city wide help through a Support and Guidance Directory which provides emotional mental health and wellbeing resources from different organisations, including information targeted at young people, parents and carers, and professionals.