This project used sport as a way to help end the difficulty and discrimination that young people with mental health problems residing within the most disadvantaged areas of Conwy face in their daily lives.
During a project run in conjunction with Conwy Borough Football Club, Colwyn Bay Hockey Club and Hockey Wales - 84 sessions were held at 30 different primary schools in the Conwy County Area and involved over 1,900 children. The project was split into two sections, an interactive based classroom session where the children filled in a booklet about healthy well being, before a sports reward session reinforced the message.
There was a similar scheme run in local secondary schools that complemented the Key Stage 4 learning outcomes on health and emotional wellbeing. Students were also taught to accept personal responsibility for keeping their minds and bodies safe and healthy. They were expected to understand the factors that affect mental health and the ways in which emotional well-being can be fostered – especially through regular sport & exercise participation.
One of the 30 primary schools that took part in the project, Ysgol Cynfran, were delighted with the positive impact that the initiative delivered. Head Teacher Owen Rodgers said: “Every class really enjoyed the project, it was well organised, professional and we look forward to welcoming Vi-Ability back very soon.”
At Ysgol John Bright in Llandudno a Year 13 student wanted to continue the awareness campaign throughout the school as she suffers
From mental health problems and reported a feeling of improved wellbeing through participation in the project and taking part in exercise. The legacy of such an innovative programme should not be underestimated too, and has really aided community clubs in the area acquire new members.