HeadStart Wolverhampton, part of a £56 million National Lottery funded programme set-up by the National Lottery Community Fund, is working to give young people the skills they need to cope with the challenges of modern life.
And a consultation with nearly 150 young people, parents and carers, schools and other stakeholders has found that its activities and interventions are having the desired effect.
HeadStart Wolverhampton runs a series of specific programmes in its four key target areas: Low Hill, The Scotlands and Bushbury South; Heath Town, Park Village, Eastfield, Springfield and Old Heath; Bilston East; All Saints, Blakenhall, Parkfields and Ettingshall.
City-wide help is available through the HeadStart Wolverhampton 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.
Findings from the consultation show that participation in the programme has led to "an increase in social and emotional skills in children, young people and parents and carers, a greater sense of community 'belonging' and increased connectivity of community members to support and other resources.”
It also found that activities and initiatives provided by HeadStart Wolverhampton are successfully "linking children and parents at risk of, and already experiencing, poor mental health and other problems into local enabling, activity-based resources".
Councillor John Reynolds, the City of Wolverhampton Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: “The investment from the National Lottery Community Fund has given us an incredible opportunity to test new ways of supporting the emotional mental health and wellbeing of our children and young people, and the findings of this consultation paint a very positive picture of the impact it is having.
"The changes in thoughts, feelings and behaviours among individuals and the improved community resilience which can be attributed to the HeadStart programme are all linked to improved outcomes in adulthood, such as stable employment, and better physical and mental health and wellbeing."