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Mental wellbeing hub at Harleston Academy blessed

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This safe indoor and outdoor space will help to support pupils with complex needs, mental health, as well as being an important place where all of the pupils can go to and receive support and be able to talk about anything outside of school.

In addition, two outdoor garden ideas inspired by pupils have been launched to form part of The Hub.

The Hub is a multipurpose area of the school to support all pupils. This includes sensory and fine motor skills, social and emotional support, music and Lego based therapies and nurture style support groups.

The intention is to allow the pupils to flourish and grow with respect, resilience and responsibility. It is staffed with the pastoral team and teaching assistants who have undertaken training in specialist areas.

Miss Hannah Holgate, headteacher of Harleston Church of England Primary Academy said: “We are delighted to be able to offer this fantastic provision to our community. We recognise that the pandemic has caused pupils to need more support. I am proud of the work the children are doing in The Hub and of the support that they are receiving. My staff have created an inclusive atmosphere to support children in a wide variety of ways. They have trained in different areas, enabling us to support our children to flourish and grow.”

The pupils have been proactive in putting ideas into action for two new areas of the academies outdoor space which forms part of The Hub.

Hannah continued: “Pupils in Year 5 and 6 were given the opportunity to put forward ideas for two ‘unforgotten’ areas of the school garden. They were asked to plan, budget and present their ideas to myself and the Governors to turn the areas into a worthwhile space.  They cleverly came up with a relaxation fairy garden zone and the ‘lost’ garden which is a peaceful and relaxing area.”

The Rt Revd Alan Winton, Bishop of Thetford said: “We are increasingly mindful of the pressures under which some children and young people live today, and the pandemic has merely added further anxiety to many young lives. This innovative idea of a Hub to focus on wellbeing in a variety of creative ways is a very welcome project, and I am very happy to lend my support, my prayers and my good wishes.”

Richard Cranmer, CEO of St Benet’s Multi Academy Trust said: “This unique area within the academy is designed to look after pupils’ complex needs and support their mental health. There is no doubt there has been an impact on children’s mental health from the fall out of Covid.  Most children and indeed adults have suffered from anxiety because of the perceived threat of the virus, disruption and isolation.”

Emerging evidence from the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK suggests similar trends that young people, in particular teenagers, in the UK are feeling more anxious than they did before the outbreak.

The kitchen team baked a special rainbow cake for the blessing and the art lead arranged for the children to create well being inspired banners and bunting for the bishop’s visit.