Chestnut Grove pupils raise awareness of mental health problems with Streatham workshop

A team of six Balham students organised a mental health workshop for vulnerable young children last week using money awarded by City Hall.

The Chestnut Grove students, aged between 11 and 12 when the project began, organised a range of activities for 60 children from years 5-7 at Streatham Youth and Community Trust last Wednesday.

Boxing, mosaic-making, mindfulness, meditation and cooking lessons were on offer, chosen for their proven links to improving mental health, and the leftover funds were used to buy equipment and resources for the youth centre.

Eliza, Rowan, Rhani, Zoe, Scarlett and Cora made use of a £1500 grant awarded by City Pitch, a project established to empower young people across London.

Eliza, 12, said: “We wanted to raise awareness about mental health in young people as it is often underestimated and we wanted to raise awareness of youth centres as many people do not know about them.”

Streatham Youth and Community Trust principle youth worker Mark Wood said he was very impressed with the pupils’ work and said the donated arts and crafts equipment had already been put in use by youth club members.

Mr Wood said: “The group of girls that arranged the day should feel very proud of themselves.

“The event was a great success and we are already talking about repeating it on an annual basis.”

There has been a rise in mental health problems amongst young people, with nine out of ten schools having to provide support to pupils with mental health issues over the past two years according to statistics from the Association of Teachers and Lecturers.

Mr Wood said he was glad the students recognised the growing concern around mental health issues for young people, and hoped that the children who attended the event would return to the youth club in the future.

Rowan, 12, said: “We may have done it for the community but it has been a lot of fun for us too!”

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