£10m to help health of Blackpool's youngsters

L-R are Jonathan Hillier, Bethany Whipp, Courtney Ward, James Hussey, Courtney Staff and Sam Steele in 2016

A £10m programme aimed at improving the mental health of children in Blackpool has now been rolled out across all the resort’s schools.

The Lottery-funded Headstart has already helped scores of young people, some of whom were at risk of self harming or being expelled from classes, since it was launched two years ago.

Schemes include ‘Friends for Life’, which is supporting children in care, and the introduction of resilience action plans and coaches whose role is to help build up confidence and self-esteem.

A report into the progress Headstart has made so far said 363 young people had been supported by resilience coaches, including 14 children who have been able to avoid being expelled from school.

READ MORE: £10million lottery fund to help resort’s children

‘Walk and Talk’ counselling has helped 217 youngsters who were at risk of self harm with three quarters saying they now had fewer negative thoughts.

Around two thirds of children who have taken part in the Bounce Forward programme, delivered by mental health charity Lancashire Mind, said their well-being had improved as a result.

Diane Booth, director of children’s services at Blackpool Council, said in her report that all 10 to 16-year-olds are now benefiting from Headstart “with the aim of increasing their resilience and wellbeing, by giving them the tools to do so and by changing the systems around them.”

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