Sunday, 29 November 2015

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Pilot scheme aims to tackle threat of bullying and stress in schools

More than 2,200 pupils in 13 schools across north Cumbria will be among the first to benefit from a new £500,000 initiative which aims to boost their mental health and improve how they cope with stress and worry.

Anne Burns photo
Anne Burns

A scheme to tackle the dangers posed by cyberbullying, social media and other digital threats to all children across Cumbria will also form part of the Headstart pilot scheme which will start in September.

The Headstart scheme aims to help 10 to 14-year-olds become more ‘emotionally resilient’.

It is hoped it can develop new ways of dealing with mental health problems in young people before they become deep-rooted.

New approaches will include peer mentoring, mental health first aid training and special resilience lessons.

Two of the biggest secondary schools in Cumbria – Trinity School in Carlisle and William Howard School, Brampton – are taking part along with primary schools that include Stanwix, Kingmoor Juniors, Houghton, Rockcliffe, Blackford, Brampton, Longtown, Hayton and Castle Carrock.

Pupils at James Rennie School at Kingstown, Carlisle, and the city’s pupil referral unit, the Gillford Centre in Currock, will also be targeted.

Each school is to get £10,000 to help deliver elements of the pilot programme in their classrooms.

Some elements will be carried out by other bodies such as experts from local health organisations.

The Headstart pilot scheme is also going to be targeted in Barrow and the surrounding area.

Cumbria is one of 12 areas in the country to win a £500,000 grant from the Big Lottery Fund to kick-start its Headstart initiative.

Cumbria County Council has agreed to be to accountable body for the scheme but it is working in partnership with health bodies, youth parliaments and others.

The five most successful areas which can prove the impact of the initial scheme and how young people are fully involved in designing new ways of working will be able to submit formal bids to secure up to £10m of further funding to continue their work.

Senior county councillors have given their backing to the scheme.


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