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Support surges for Bright Idea mental health support

News | Published:

by Jake Wallace jwallace@guernseypress.com

Nicola Harper addresses the Bright Idea meeting in the Saumarez Room at Beau Sejour, which saw further support emerge for the initiative to help young people with mental health challenges which she started with Helen Banks. (Picture by Andrew Le Poidevin)

AN INITIATIVE looking to help young people overcome barriers has grown in numbers after members of the public signed up to help.

At a public meeting on Wednesday, The Bright Idea gave a presentation on how providing activities for young people suffering mental health challenges can help them overcome barriers by increasing their activity levels.

The group is looking for passionate and caring people who could spend around an hour a week, for as many weeks as they can, to help.

The Bright Idea has been developed by Grammar School and Sixth Form Centre assistant head teacher Nicola Harper, who also heads inclusion and safeguarding, and the school’s mental health and wellbeing coordinator, Helen Banks.

‘We had 24 people come today and it looks like almost everyone has signed up to it,’ said Miss Harper.

‘We also had the Youth Commission, who have said they will look at getting involved, as well as the Sports Commission.

‘This helps us match the right people, as when we get a young person and we identify their need we will then have a list of people who we can go to.’

The activities are funded for six weeks and pre- and post-assessments are undertaken to see if there have been changes in the young person’s mood.

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Last year The Bright Idea put out a bid for funding and received £3,500.

They are hoping to raise more funds because although those who pair with the children might be giving their time for free, some of the activities might require fees.

‘We are going to look for another bid,’ said Miss Harper. ‘We want this to be sustainable, so if the young person has done the activity for six weeks and wants to continue, we can make that happen.’

Activities already on offer include sea swimming, boxing and listening while walking, but after the meeting other ideas had been put forward.

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‘A year ago it was more about mental health challenges and looking at lifestyle, engaging them with activity as it can help them,’ said Miss Harper.

‘But now we have families who would like to take part, that lifestyle can change.

‘If we look at obesity, for example, if it is a family and we just work with the child that won’t make the change sustainable.

‘So we have had someone who offered to go to their house and teach them how to cook.

‘That is incredible, when does that happen?’

Miss Harper added that she wanted to thank Simon Sebire, Alun Williams and Valour Gym for their support.

n Those interested in giving their time should email Miss Harper, nharper@web.grammar.sch.gg.

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