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Greenhouse Sports launches pioneering partnership with Impact on Urban Health to help more children access mental health support at school

Greenhouse Sports
  • Greenhouse Sports launches a pioneering delivery partnership with Guy’s and St Thomas’s NHS Foundation Trust
  • Impact on Urban Heath, an organisation overseen by the Trust tackling health inequality in cities, will deliver a four-year partnership with the charity
  • They aim to support children most at risk of developing or worsening ‘behavioural difficulties’ as they transition from primary to secondary school.
  • This is a point in a child’s life that is known to trigger or worsen mental health problems, particularly for children and families in the grips of poverty
  • The project will expand Greenhouse Sports’ model of embedding sports coaches in schools to work across one secondary school and four local primaries in Lambeth
  • Since 2002, Greenhouse Sports has worked in schools all over London, supporting them to keep over 50,000 children engaged with their education, helping them achieve better results, better jobs and a better future

Impact on Urban Health, an organisation based in London boroughs Lambeth and Southwark that tackles health inequality, has partnered with Greenhouse Sports on a new four year project. Together they will develop and test a coaching programme that brings schools, families, and community groups together to support young people’s mental health as they transition from primary to secondary school.

The project will expand Greenhouse Sports’ model of embedding sports coaches in schools to work across one secondary and four primary schools in Lambeth. The full-time coaches will provide sports sessions, mentoring, breakfast, lunch and after school clubs for children showing signs of behavioural difficulties, which are often expressions of distress and mental health problems in young people.

The coaches, successful sports coaching professionals who have grown up in similar neighbourhoods, and faced some of the same challenges in their environments, build trusted relationships with the children through the Greenhouse STEP programme supporting and developing Social, Thinking, Emotional and Physical skills.  In addition to developing these skills, coaches become a constant in the young person’s school environment, forming part of their support network as they navigate their educational journeys.

The transition from primary to secondary school is a point in a child’s life that is known to trigger or worsen mental health problems, particularly for children and families in the grips of poverty and the growing cost of living crisis.

Crucially, Impact on Urban Health sees this project as an opportunity to develop and test a potentially replicable model to support schools to create safe and nurturing environments for all children and expand the model across the country.

As part of its work, Greenhouse Sports embeds experienced sports Coaches in target schools. The Coach runs sessions during and after the school day (including breakfast clubs, lunch clubs and after school clubs) and is embedded in the school like a full-time member of staff and trusted mentor

Greenhouse Sports focuses on children and communities that need them most. It only works in schools where at least two-thirds of pupils live in areas of high deprivation (according to the Income Deprivation Affecting Children Index (IDACI) rating), and children are coping with the mental and physical stresses of poverty

Proven benefits of the Greenhouse programme include improved school attendance and attainment; improved self-esteem and wellbeing, sociability, and relationships with students and school staff bet  Children on the programme on average attend 8 days more in school each year and achieve 40% higher results in GCSE Maths and 30% better in English.

This new partnership will see Impact on Urban Health and Greenhouse Sports, supported by ImpactEd, and University College London )work together to learn from and track the same students over the course of the project. The schools involved are: Ashmole Primary, Wyvil Primary, Herbert Morrison Primary, Vauxhall Primary and Lilian Baylis Technology School.

Greenhouse Sports will add to its existing monitoring and evaluation suite (featuring three validated measurement scales: Teamwork Scale for Youth, Grit-S Survey and Goal Orientation Scale) to draw out specifics in relation to behavioural difficulties and develop a model for supporting vulnerable students.

Julika Niehaus, Portfolio Manager for Impact on Urban Health’s children’s mental health programme, adds “All children deserve strong and positive mental health, and schools play an important role in creating nurturing spaces where every child can thrive. Greenhouse Sports has had a huge impact on the children, schools, and communities they support and we’re delighted to fund and work on this project.

We’re especially excited to be supporting a model that we know schools and families already value. By being there for young people in the years before and after transition to secondary school we have an opportunity to build real school connectedness, strengthen children’s support systems and bring additional capacity to schools that are already pushed to the limit.”

Karen Chamberlain, Headteacher at Lilian Baylis Technology School, says: The Greenhouse Sports Coaching model has been transformative in our school and our coach is a full member of our school community. So far, we have really been excited by the opportunities the programme brings in helping students to build positive relationships with each other, their coach and other school staff members. As the project develops, we look forward to seeing the further impact this will have on our year 7 cohorts, who will join us already having these established connections, easing their transition and safeguarding them against many adolescent mental health issues that we are seeing far too often in our young people.

Béatrice Butsana-Sita, CEO of Greenhouse Sports, says: I am personally very pleased that our experience and knowledge learned from 20 years delivering sport for development has convinced this leading organisation to fund and work with us. It is a tribute to all Greenhouse Sports staff and trustees that Guy’s and St Thomas’ place their faith in our organisation and coaches to deliver this pioneering study into a public health concern that particularly affects young people from among the poorest in our society.”

 

“All children deserve strong and positive mental health, and schools play an important role in creating nurturing spaces where every child can thrive. Greenhouse Sports has had a huge impact on the children, schools, and communities they support and we’re delighted to fund and work on this project. We’re especially excited to be supporting a model that we know schools and families already value. By being there for young people in the years before and after transition to secondary school we have an opportunity to build real school connectedness, strengthen children's support systems and bring additional capacity to schools that are already pushed to the limit.”

- Julika Niehaus, Portfolio Manager for Impact on Urban Health’s children’s mental health programme
"The Greenhouse Sports Coaching model has been transformative in our school and our coach is a full member of our school community. So far, we have really been excited by the opportunities the programme brings in helping students to build positive relationships with each other, their coach and other school staff members. As the project develops, we look forward to seeing the further impact this will have on our year 7 cohorts, who will join us already having these established connections, easing their transition and safeguarding them against many adolescent mental health issues that we are seeing far too often in our young people." 

- Karen Chamberlain, Headteacher at Lilian Baylis Technology School

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