Awards for All
Funded by the National Lottery Community Fund “Awards for All” grant 2021.
Ensuring all abilities and ages could be involved
Making up for post-covid social opportunities
Local venues, easy to get to at the heart of Teesside
The Big Picture
Teesside has some of the highest suicide rates in the country. Evidence suggests that instilling yoga and mindfulness from a young age can significantly increase physical/mental health, resilience and support happier, well-rounded humans. Using our experience, we want to support children in the most deprived areas of Teesside where parents may not have the financial capacity to send children to local community clubs. Area deprivation is also closely linked with an unhealthy increase in screen time. Therefore, our approach is to offer a combination of funded yoga/mindfulness clubs and give children a login so they can continue to access videos and activities from home. To make it even more engaging, the platform will have a points system which would reward them based on their activities. We don’t want our project to simply be a short-term solution. Our local clubs will empower and educate children; our digital platform will give them tools to take responsibility for their wellbeing in an attempt to embed it throughout their whole lives. Children aged between 4-11 will benefit most as this is where we feel we can be most effective. It will also raise awareness to parents, carers and teachers – the individuals most responsible for supporting children’s development. We estimate the pilot lasting 6 months including support during school holidays where parents (particularly in deprived areas), often struggle to find activities to do. To get the word out, we already have excellent relationships with local schools and community centres. We have a great social media following and larger, partner organisations will help promote our offering through their channels. We are realising more and more that we need to reach children in creative ways to promote engagement. This pilot will therefore help shape how we develop our offering to reach our young people.
Why at this time?
Children have been hugely affected by COVID-19. In particular, the closing of schools has meant children have missed out on education, socialisation and routine. We have found that there has been a staggering difference in children’s experience at home over lockdown. Specifically, on average, children from low-income families have suffered the most and have missed out on key parts of their development over this last year. There’s now a huge pressure on children to “close the [education] gap” but without a more holistic approach, it is like building a house without any foundations. Our projects aim is to solidify those foundations through the medium of yoga and mindfulness. By teaching children to be kind, resilient, confident and happy through our community clubs and digital support, we give kids a fighting chance and help them reach their potential at a critical point in their development.
Listening to our audience
The formation of this project has been steered heavily by our local community and young people who really value what we already do. At the peak of COVID-19 when schools were completely closed, we set up a basic online platform so children could still access yoga and home and keep active. Parents and teachers reported how beneficial this has been. We also work closely with our young people so the content we are developing is fun, engaging and in line with what they find interesting. For example, on the back of some community clubs, children requested Superhero themed sessions and we have also had parents vote for various themes throughout social media channels. We also have an incredible board of advisors with a wealth of experience from Head Teachers, Community Centre Managers to parents which have children within our target demographic and therefore have a genuine interest in the quality of service we provide.
A Huge Thank you
Most of all however, thank you. Thanks to each of you that has supported us. Thanks to each and every school that has brought us in and kept us alive over a rough pandemic period. Without you all we are nothing and we hope we can keep supporting these communities for years and years to come.
And of course a massive thanks to the people that funded all of this, the national lottery. They do some of the best charity work across the globe and support so many great charities and causes and I encourage anyone that doesn’t know much about what they do to have a read here https://www.tnlcommunityfund.org.uk/