Local social enterprise, Freedom Foundation, has launched an on-line hub to ensure children and young people can still access mental health support and advice through lockdown.
Nottingham based Freedom Foundation was founded in May 2017 by Laura Grant and Stacey Green, it delivers a series of programmes to children across schools in Nottinghamshire to promote positive mental health and wellbeing, as well as educating young people and parents about the pros and cons of social media and empowering children and teenagers through music and dance.
As the coronavirus pandemic took over the country and schools were forced to close, Freedom Foundation knew that although schools would prioritise mental wellbeing they were concerned that the children who they had been working with would have no access to the support they had been receiving whilst studying at home.
Working with a team of developers, Freedom Foundation has developed an online learning space that enables children to enter a safe area within their community of peers and friends. Live support sessions are available and the hub also allows users to express themselves, explore the outside world and talk freely about how they are feeling in the current climate within a safe environment.
By developing practical resources to provide the skills needed for a positive and healthy mind-set, Freedom Foundation’s aim is to help prevent long-term mental health challenges in later years.
Stacey Green, director of Freedom Foundation commented: “We wanted to develop a safe space that helped to reach children and young people during the pandemic. The hub we have developed enables them to be in their own community and receive the excellent training, support and guidance the Freedom Foundation programmes deliver.”
With the hub in place, Freedom Foundation is now working with several schools in the city and across the county to deliver their Motivational Morning programme. Aimed at pupils in year groups 7-12, the programme offers a fresh approach to the traditional morning assembly and promotes the importance of a healthy state of mind in preparation for the rest of the day.
Wayne Norrie, CEO of Greenwood Academies Trust said: “We are delighted to be working with Freedom Foundation in a number of our schools and their Motivational Morning programme has helped our students during and beyond this difficult time. The innovative way this is being delivered will engage the students in a different way to enhance their learning and motivation.”
Co-founder, Laura Grant commented: “Everyone working with children has done a great job in adapting to the crisis by using different methods of communication. It is an anxious time we are all living in and therefore we are delighted to have developed this on-line platform to create some sort of constant for young people. Being able to access the help you need is crucial and we have seen some amazing and innovative approaches. It is great to see that children and young people, particularly the vulnerable ones, are still being supported through lockdown.”
Freedom Foundation are also delivering some community projects supported by SSBC and Nottingham City Council’s ‘This Girl Can’ project to deliver their Funky Tots programme (street dance and singing for 2 – 4 year olds), WhatsUp (parent sessions on the impact of mental health on social media) and WISE (Women Inspired Street dance) to reach more people digitally during this time.