Emotional wellbeing project has supported 87,000 young people in Cornwall

By Max Goodman

27th Jan 2023 | Local News

A £10.8 million project to help children and young people in Cornwall manage their emotional health and well-being has been hailed as a huge success.

Funded by The National Lottery Community Fund and run by Cornwall Council's Together for Families service, Headstart Kernow has supported 87,000 young people over six years.

The idea was to promote a community and schools-based approach so any child or young person who needed help could be quickly identified and supported.

The project spawned two websites – Headstart Kernow is for professionals, parents, and carers, while Start Now is run by young people for young people.

Both are packed with useful advice and content and have been viewed by almost 80,000 users.

The young people with Start Now worked with the Headstart team to design 'Connect Cards' which include information on help and support as well as offers, competitions, and 'free stuff'. More than 37,000 have already been distributed and continue to be sent out.

Among its many initiatives, Headstart produced what is thought to be the first 'resilience toolkit' for online safety. This supports professionals to identify harmful online behaviours among children and young people and offer support to them and their parents or carers.

Other achievements include:

  • 5,019 people benefitted from community projects funded by Headstart
  • 3,018 young people contributed to the programme
  • 4,246 young people received targeted support by professionals as a result of the project
  • 618 parents or carers were helped with the likes of group sessions and training
  • 7,563 professionals received training in neuroscience, including the importance of creativity and play as well as the impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and helping young people and families build resilience and good emotional wellbeing
  • 505 community organisations have been supported, including 220 primary schools and 31 secondary schools
  • 300 educational settings received a wellbeing toolkit of therapeutic resources to give professionals the tools to help them support young people
  • A multi-disciplinary team to provide early intervention, called Bloom, was created which was highly commended at the Children and Young People Now Awards in December 2022
  • Therapeutic resources for all Foster Carers and Special Guardians will be provided in Spring 2023

National Lottery funding for the Headstart project ended in August last year but its valuable work will continue under the same name.

Cllr Barbara Ellenbroek, cabinet member for children and families, said:

"Headstart Kernow has been a huge success, helping health and education professionals to put young people's emotional health at the centre of everything.

"The six years of lottery funding may have ended but Headstart's legacy lives on and the work of supporting children and young people to manage their mental well-being will never end.

"Everything we have learned from this project will shape the emotional health provision for young people in Cornwall for years to come."

For more information visit the websites at www.headstartkernow.org.uk and www.startnowcornwall.org.uk

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