Organisations across Wolverhampton have benefitted from a share of over £150,000 to deliver services which will help young people cope better with the trials and tribulations of modern life.

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Over the next few months, voluntary and community organisations will work with young people aged 10 to 14 as part of the HeadStart programme, which aims to improve the resilience of young people in Wolverhampton.

Last year, Wolverhampton City Council was given £500,000 by the Big Lottery Fund to establish a series of pilot HeadStart projects which would test different ways of supporting young people, improving their mental health and well being and giving them the best chance to do well at school and in life.

If these projects can be demonstrated to deliver successful outcomes for the city's young people, Wolverhampton could be in line for a multi million pound share of funding from the £75 million national HeadStart programme.

The council estimates there are thousands of 10 to 14 year olds who are at risk of poor mental health because of issues including deprivation, unemployment, poverty, bullying, low self esteem and substance misuse.

The HeadStart programme aims to develop ways of helping and supporting young people to deal with mental health issues before they become deep rooted problems.

With its partners, the council is already piloting a number of support services and interventions, like peer mentoring, training, online information and therapy portals, community and family support and providing places for young people to go to for help and support.

In addition, it has encouraged community based organisations to put forward proposals for schemes they could provide. A series of applications were considered by a Dragon's Den style panel of young people supported by representatives from the Headstart programme in December, with the successful organisations' programmes unveiled this month.

  • Re-Entry will deliver the High 5 project, taking young people on a five step journey towards greater self awareness and self confidence, especially concerning their own emotional development and feeling able to come forward to ask for help. It will also develop a Families at Re-Entry support group to help parents and carers become more confident in their caring role
  • Changing Lives' Addressing Trauma project seeks to support girls to improve their emotional wellbeing and ability to cope with difficult situations by understanding relationships and re-engaging with schools and services
  • Bilston based Gazebo Theatre Company's Parent and Carers Drama and Creative Art Therapy programme aims to help parents and carers understand the things that impact upon a child's resilience, and to affect positive change in their own interactions and relationships which in turn will have a positive impact on their child's resilience and behaviour
  • Kuumba Arts Movement's project, called A Place To Be Me, seeks to use performing arts to help young people develop the skills they need to manage any difficult situations they experience as they grow up. It will help them become more confident, develop emotional resilience and widen their network of trusted adults and peers they can turn to for help
  • Push Off, Wolverhampton Bike Shed's winning project, will aim to engage young people in positive activities based around bikes, providing a supportive framework that will help them develop strategies, confidence and self esteem by sharing their experiences with adults and mentors. It will help them develop better care skills, increase social interaction and widen their peer networks
  • Youth radio station KIC FM's project, Kic the Blues, aims to support young people to discuss mental health issues through media based activities. It will focus on raising awareness of services available to young people across the city and reducing the risk of exclusion
  • Engage Youth Empowerment Services, EYES, is planning to stage an Art Break Festival to foster interest and increase participation in arts and crafts among children and young people in Wolverhampton. It will seek to reduce loneliness and isolation by giving creative young people the chance to perform, exhibit and market their work
  • Improving Futures' Creative Parent Support Group aims to improve home life and relationships within the family by enabling parents to better support their children and themselves. It includes a series of programmes, a monthly support group and family sessions which seek to improve parents' self esteem and give them solutions to the issues they are facing
  • LGBT Network X2Y's project, Making it Better, will build the resilience of LGBT young people in Wolverhampton and increase awareness of its dedicated X2Y youth group among young people and educational professionals. Young people will help develop resources which can be used to increase the resilience of LGBT young people locally, and the project will provide information and support for families of LGBT young people, and equip school staff to challenge homophobic and transphobic behaviour and language
  • Base 25 will be offering activities at various locations around Wolverhampton to engage with around 120 parents, children and young people who require support from trusted adults and other professionals
  • Finally, Wolverhampton's Youth Offending Team's Youth Inclusion Support Panel will work with young people who are becoming involved in low level crime. The young person's needs will be assessed and appropriate early intervention, including improving emotional wellbeing and developing an awareness of the impact their actions have on victims, will be offered which should help prevent their escalation through the youth justice system
  • Two schools will also be offering special resilience sessions for pupils and parents. Edward the Elder and Pennfields School will be using the SUMO 4 Parents programme, seeking to engage with parents and pupils from some of Wolverhampton's most vulnerable families

Councillor Val Gibson, Wolverhampton City Council's Cabinet Member for Children and Families, said: "We had a tremendous response to our appeal for local organisations to play a part in our HeadStart programme, and I am sure that the schemes which have been commissioned will have a real impact in terms of improving the lives of our young people.

"Too few young people who need help when they feel they can't cope with issues affecting them actually receive it before it begins to affect their health and wellbeing. We want to change that and ensure that the support they need is available - and that young people feel able to ask for it.

"This is a great opportunity to help young people in Wolverhampton and I am looking forward to seeing the results of the various projects that are taking place around the city."

  • released: Friday 20 March, 2015