MORE than 20 schools in Tendring and Colchester are opening up new wellbeing hubs after a successful pilot scheme.

Great Bentley Primary School worked with Tendring Council to launch the first wellbeing hub in 2017 to provide a focus on its pupils’ wellbeing and help them to thrive, initially running as a six-month trial.

Following the trial, the North East Essex Health and Wellbeing Alliance agreed to give £245,000 from its Investment Fund to roll-out the scheme across the area to 20 more schools.

The 21 school hubs have now officially opened and a ribbon cutting ceremony was held at Great Bentley Primary School to mark the transition from pilot to permanent initiative.

Pam Green, executive lead at the alliance, added: “Good mental health is important whatever age you are, and it is important that we not only support young people who are struggling, but also equip them with skills for life to look after themselves too.

“These hubs do just that, which is why we have invested in them as part of our Start Well and Feel Well priorities as an alliance, working across health, education and local authority sectors to create positive outcomes.

“All agencies across north-east Essex consider providing effective mental health support to young people as a top priority.

“Across Colchester and Tendring areas, the system has assisted schools to put processes in place to ensure students are best supported.”

The Great Bentley pilot hub is an after-school facility, where children with mild to moderate mental health issues are supported in group activity around themes of play, art, construction, and science, gaining a “rucksack of skills” to help them understand self and learn skills to take them forward into secondary school and beyond.

Tracey Caffull, executive headteacher at Great Bentley Primary School, said the hub had made a positive impact on young people’s lives.

She said: “The hub works by both supporting pupils with tailored sessions that help them develop an awareness of self, skills to gain confidence and strategies to support gaining regulation, but also engaging with parents to ensure children get that strong foundation of enough sleep, good diet and consistent responses from the adults around them.”

Mrs Mrs Caffull, who is also executive headteacher at Frinton Primary School which also led on the project, added: “This twin-pronged support allows great wraparound support for young people, and has been hugely beneficial for our students.

“I am so pleased to see the model funded and rolled-out more widely, and hope to see it grow even further.”