Since the South London Listens Assembly in October 2022, King’s Social Mobility & Widening Participation department have been working with Newlands Academy, a school in south London, to set up their Be Well Hub. This is part of a wider King’s partnership with South London Listens (SLL) and Citizens UK to help set up and support Be Well Hubs across local schools in Southwark and Lambeth. The hubs aim to destigmatise mental ill-health by offering support and providing a place where people can speak about their mental health.
During Children’s Mental Health Week and in partnership with Place2Be, a children’s mental health charity that works with pupils, families and staff in UK schools, Newlands Academy held an event to celebrate the official opening of their Be Well Hub. At the event, attendees including staff, students, families and the local community were introduced to information and resources they could access through the hub to support their mental health.
As well as providing a space dedicated to improving mental health, the hub will also have an education strand where students can learn about inclusive practices. The hub’s education strand aims to encourage pupils to respect those around them and to create a safe environment for everyone at their school.
We are delighted to be part of this project and have our very own Hub here at Newlands. By simply providing a space to talk for students, staff, parents and carers we have already seen new connections organically forming. This is paving the way to creating something very meaningful for our school community as a whole.– Sarah Cowdrey, Therapy Team Manager and Child & Adolescent Psychotherapist & Clinical Supervisor, who is leading the Be Well Hub at Newlands Academy
Michael Bennett, Associate Director of Widening Participation at King’s said: “In King’s Social Mobility & Widening Participation department our mission is to make access to university more equal, and a key part of this is by addressing barriers students face to achieve their goals. We do loads to prepare more students to apply for and get into university, and to succeed with us while they are here. We are doing dedicated work to help them improve their grades and power. But education doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Teachers, learners and their families have told us that mental health is vital in getting on at school and being able to flourish.
“We have developed the Be Well Hubs in schools to provide mental health support in new accessible ways as a core part of our work to address inequalities. We want to support our communities to learn well and live well, with the safety and security of positive mental health wherever they go to school.”
We have developed the Be Well Hubs in schools to provide mental health support in new accessible ways as a core part of our work to address inequalities. We want to support our communities to learn well and live well, with the safety and security of positive mental health wherever they go to school.– Michael Bennett, Associate Director of Widening Participation at King’s
The SLL Assembly was hosted by King’s and organised by SLL, an initiative formed by community leaders from South London Citizens, local NHS Mental Health Trusts, NHS commissioners, and local council leaders, after recognising the impact the COVID-19 pandemic had on mental health. The assembly was a celebration of the progress South London Listens has made on pledges from their priority areas, one being children, young people and parental mental health.
Through setting up a hub and working with SLL, Newlands Academy are now part of a wider network of schools, faith organisations and community groups that are working with the NHS and local government to improve healthcare services in south London.