Our activity-based mentoring groups are run in primary schools and help children to flourish. We use craft and other activities alongside our Social and Emotion Learning Programme. This increases children’s social skills, confidence and helps build positive relationships. The emphasis is on enhancing wellbeing and self-esteem, addressing topics such as working with others, self-care, coping with anxiety and dealing with anger.
In the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment for Leeds, child poverty is highlighted as a root cause of poor health, education and employment outcomes for families. Average life expectancy is 12 years lower in the areas where we work compared to other parts of the city and the disability-free life expectancy can be up to 18 years lower. Without positive intervention, these invisible barriers can lead to many children leaving school with few or no qualifications. The children we work with are dealing with low self-esteem, underdeveloped social skills and a lack of belief in what they can achieve.
Our mentoring sessions are always lots of fun and are designed to boost confidence, improve focus and increase self-awareness. The high adult to child ratio means that each child can receive individual attention and encouragement from the mentors, many of whom are students in Leeds and bring huge amounts of enthusiasm and insight to the sessions.
"I want to be here 24/7"
“I’ve been telling my mum all week that I want to go to school so I can come to this group”
"I’m going to move schools so I can do the group all over again!"
“Children who wouldn’t talk to each other are now working together, talking to each other and playing together at break.”
"We chat a lot and we can tell the leaders of the club anything"
Art and Soul
Art and Soul brings parents and carers together to focus on wellbeing and to share the joys and challenges of family life. Our aim is to create a welcoming and inclusive space where there is the opportunity to celebrate the positives of family life, share support and advice as well as uncover new strategies and ideas that are easy to take home.
The groups are based around creating individual craft journals, with each page covering a different topic, such as self-image or handling anxiety. The focus on doing craft together makes the whole experience very accessible and group sizes are kept small to facilitate the sharing of struggles and solutions together. Parents and carers often tell us that they love the relaxed and friendly atmosphere and the chance to have some time devoted to wellbeing.