Tendring District Council: Primary school wellbeing hubs to transform lives in a safe pace
Working with partners, Tendring District Council decided to introduce Wellbeing Hubs in 16 Primary Schools for both children, and their parents or carers. The hubs operate as an after-school club at which children are provided with additional structured support. The project is aimed at children with emerging difficulties and those that do not reach the threshold for statutory services. The programme objectives are:
- Develop resilience skills
- Encourage each child to recognise and express emotion
- Empower children
- Enable children to start to develop their self esteem
- Equip children with a set of skills and choices to tackle things that cause anxiety
- To gain a “rucksack of skills” to take them forward into secondary school and beyond into the world of employment.
This project is distinctive as it takes a whole family approach, not just supporting an individual child. It is also innovative as it is supporting children at a primary age range, providing early intervention and prevention.
The National Mental Health of Children and Young People Survey indicates that within Tendring, 9.5% of primary school aged children (aged 5-10) have at least one mental health disorder. The most common types in this age were behavioural (5%) and emotional (4.1%). Tendring has the highest prevalence of mental health disorders in children in Essex at 9.8% of population aged 5-16 years. It’s therefore essential that the mental health of children within these primary schools is supported at this early stage.
The council has partnered with both health and academic organisations on this project: Essex University, EWMHS (Essex Wellbeing and Mental Health Service), Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care Board, North East Essex Health Alliance, and Health Watch Essex.
In conjunction with the after-school sessions for children, the Wellbeing Hub also engages with, and offers support to, parents and carers providing information and learning sessions on subjects such as sleep, nutrition, growth mindset, skills packages, and resilience.
Over 650 children have now been supported through a Wellbeing hub.
Evaluation undertaken by Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health Services Essex (EWMHS) of the impact of the Wellbeing Hub categorises four domains of mental health indicators (including: ‘how is everything’; ‘how am I feeling’; ‘how are things with my family’). Early data shows a positive increase of 58% across all four domains. This shows that young people and their parents/carers are feeling more resilient, equipped, and empowered.
Essex University has been engaged to provide academic rigour and evaluate pupil’s progress, changes across the wider family unit and cultural changes within schools.
The Wellbeing Hub at Great Bentley has been identified as good practice by Healthwatch Essex, who has produced a video to showcase it. This video takes you inside the first Wellbeing Hub and provides testimonials from both parents/carers and children.