Category Archive Children and Education

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Mid-Kent Bank holiday workshop

Mid-Kent Mind are pleased to announce that we are organising a free ‘Bank Holiday Wellbeing Workshop’ for young people between the ages of eight and seventeen – with a particular focus on young people who live in Maidstone and Swale.

The stream will take place on August the 31st, and it is hoped that the stream will be able to function as an interactive session which will both provide young people with an opportunity to try new and exciting activities, and also will function as an opportunity for young people to learn more about building emotional resilience. 

Mid-Kent Mind are working with partners to offer a range of pre-recorded sessions which will be streamed live on the day. These will include things like physical activity sessions facilitated by coaches, and also wellbeing sessions which will focus on equipping young people with the tools and knowledge to better manage their mental health as they return to school this September. 

It is safe to say that the return to a new normal is a daunting one for many young people – so we hope that this event will serve as a medium through which we can really help to alleviate the potential anxieties which may be bubbling away in young people under the surface – putting them in the best possible position for their return to school. 

The live stream will be available entirely free of charge, but will not be available for long after it has streamed, meaning that exclusive access will only be available on the day. Spaces are not limited – so as many young people as possible can benefit from this event. 

Nearer the time we will debut a timetable, and will also begin to announce our event partners to give a rough format for the day. 

For more details, please visit our website.

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FREE Drop-In Virtual Wellbeing Café For Young People In The Maidstone & Mid-Kent Area

Mid-Kent Mind are offering two unique Virtual Wellbeing Café services which young people will be able to access for a little bit of additional support and guidance during this challenging period of time.
 
As a part of this drop-in support, we have developed a Digital Chatroom which will be accessible for young people through the format of a ZOOM room which will be facilitated by Mid-Kent Mind’s Wellbeing Workers.
 
As a part of these sessions, young people will have the opportunity to take part in Quizzes and other online activities, but will also have the opportunity to ask questions to our workers and offload any thoughts and feelings which the current situation may have effected.
 
The two sessions take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4pm – 5pm, with 8-12 year olds able to access the Tuesday sessions, and 13-17 year olds able to access the Thursday sessions.
 
Full details can be found here on the Mid Kent Mind website.

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Choices Domestic Abuse Service

iCan is a free programme for young boys in need of therapeutic support in Tonbridge and Malling and Maidstone. iCan, was designed for one-to-one work with adolescent boys aged 14-16, affected by domestic abuse through their family or intimate relationships. They may be isolated with a limited support network and are presenting with behaviours linked to trauma such as anxiety, low mood, disengagement, risk taking behaviour or difficulty building relationships.

The programme can help them deal with trauma and help teach them coping strategies as well as appropriate ways of communication. 

iCan is a client-led intervention program which is designed to tackle to needs of the individual, as such topics can range from healthy relationships, drugs, sexual health, alcohol, gang culture and mental health etc.

If you know of anyone who might benefit from this service, please contact Isabella Thorp at isabella.thorp@choicesdaservice.org.uk 

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Maidstone MIND boxing lessons

Maidstone and Mid-Kent Mind are delighted to share that we have received funding from Kent Sport to deliver free virtual boxing lessons for young people, in conjunction with the team from Olympia Boxing CIC.
 
The sessions are being made available through MMK Mind’s YouTube channel, and will provide young people with a once-weekly lesson between thirty and forty-five minutes in length, for twelve weeks.
 
It is hoped that these sessions will encourage young people to embrace and learn new activities, whilst also underpinning the real values that physical activity can have on our overall mental health and wellbeing. Both organisations would like to continue to develop the programme in the future – further exploring the intrinsic relationship between mental and physical health.
 
For full details on the programme, and how young people can get involved, please visit the following webpage. 

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Holding On Letting Go

Holding On Letting Go is a Kent-based charity that helps children to cope with the death of someone close to them.

Often the children we see have lost their mum, dad, grandparents, a sibling or a friend. Sometimes more than one person in their family has died or there are sudden and traumatic circumstances surrounding the death, such as suicide, a road accident or murder.

Since the adults around them are also grieving, these children often feel unable to express their feelings or talk about their loved one or their sadness.

Many adults don’t know how to support children through the grieving process, so we give support and guidance to parents and carers too.

Fro more information click here or download the referral form below and send to FREEPOST HOLDING ON LETTING GO or email info@holg.org.uk

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Digital Maidstone Youth Wellbeing Cafe

Our Wednesday evening Maidstone Youth Wellbeing Cafe will be suspended due to current guidance around the COVID-19 outbreak.

We are working on developing a Digital Chatroom which will be accessible for young people during this period, providing them with access to a moderated safe space where they can seek peer support.

As of June, or Youth Wellbeing Cafe will take the format of a ZOOM room where young people can take part in a Quiz and other online activities facilitated by our Wellbeing Workers. Click here for more information.

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Bounce back

MMK Mind are offering FREE spaces on our Virtual emotional resilience course, Bounce Back, thanks to generous funding from The National Lottery Community Fund.

Bounce Back is a 6 week, youth emotional resilience course for ages 11-18.

The course teaches young people how they can combat stress, deal with emotions and reduce anxiety so they can ‘bounce back’ from the challenges they face in life.

The course includes:

An introduction to emotional resilience, get to know you games and activities

Identifying support networks and understanding the importance of having a support network

Understanding anxiety and how it can impact on you

Understanding stress and how to tackle it

The impact of relaxation on wellbeing & de-stress techniques

Understanding decision making and how to make emotionally intelligent decisions

For more details, you can e-mail janesampson@mmkmind.org.uk.

Alternatively, you can visit this webpage: https://www.maidstonemind.org/virtual-bounce-back-courses/

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Youth Recovery Action Plans

MMK Mind have more spaces available for free one-to-one support which young people may benefit from. These sessions begin on the 3rd of June – and will be available without charge thanks to funding from The National Lottery Community Fund.
 
Youth Recovery Action Plans are designed to offer 1 To 1 Youth Support to young people who may benefit more from individual support instead of group-based activities.
 
The Recovery Action Plan (RAP) has been designed to allow individuals to take a holistic look at their life and identify areas where they can act to help their wellbeing.
 
RAPS are tailored specifically for people who may benefit from support in a more one-to-one environment. With the support of a Wellbeing Worker, young people can set realistic, timely goals in areas of need.
 
For more details, and to book a space for your young person, please visit https://www.maidstonemind.org/digital-youth-recovery-action-plans/.

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Young minds

Young Minds provides advice about mental health and behaviour problems in children and young people up to the age of 25. You can call the Parents’ and Carers’ Helpline on 0808 802 5544. Please be aware Young Minds do not provide any direct psychological services and cannot make referrals to the NHS or Children and Young People’s Mental Health Services (CYPMHS).

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Helplines and websites for your child and or young person

If your child or young person would like to speak to someone anonymously, they could try calling a helpline or visiting websites such as ChildLine and The Mix.

Shout provides free, confidential support, 24/7 via text for anyone at crisis anytime, anywhere.

You can:

text SHOUT to 85258 in the UK to text with a trained Crisis Volunteer

text with someone who is trained and will provide active listening and collaborative problem-solving

ChildLine provides a helpline for any child with a problem. It comforts, advises and protects.

You can:

call 0800 1111 any time for free

have an online chat with a counsellor

check out the message boards

The Mix provides a free confidential helpline and online service that aims to find young people the best help, whatever the problem.

You can:

call 0808 808 4994 for free – lines are open from 11am to 11pm every day

access the online community

email The Mix

Under 18’s Mental Health support

Provides emotional wellbeing and mental health advice and support for young people and their families across Kent. Call the 24 hour single point of access number. Call 0300 123 4496 (select option one, then option three)

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Guidance for parents and carers on supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is going to affect daily life and regardless of their age, this may be a difficult time for children and young people. Please visit the gov.uk website to see the full guidance for parents and carers on supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing.

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School/ Education FAQ

Over the last week, there has been a great deal of activity from the Government with regards to the use of technology at home. You may be aware that for vulnerable families, the Government has committed to fund technology.

Which children and young people are eligible for a device or a router and why?

There are two groups of children and young people eligible for a device and connectivity who currently lack access:

· The first are care leavers and children who receive support from a social worker (including families with pre-school children with a social worker, as well as older children), who need to keep in touch with social care services.

· The second group are disadvantaged students who would not otherwise have access to online learning and are preparing for exams (in year 10).

Any 16 to 19 year olds in education, without a suitable device or connectivity to study remotely, and whose family cannot afford these costs, should approach their school to request support. The Government are also working with major telecommunication companies to temporarily exempt certain educational resources from data charges. More details on this will follow once the Government have made decisions.

My child qualifies for a device and connectivity at home but I don’t know how to apply for one. How can I do this?

Devices and routers will be sent to schools and children’s social care teams. They will contact you once they have the devices and routers to let you know how to access them.

There is too much pressure on broadband connections in my area – how can my child do online learning?

The Government is having regular calls with the major fixed and mobile operators, and with Ofcom, to monitor the situation and ensure that any problems on the networks are rapidly addressed and rectified.

The Government fully understands the importance of having reliable internet connectivity, particularly at this time, so that people can work from home wherever possible and access critical public services online, including health information.

Is my child at additional risk while spending more time online?

With children spending more time online to do schoolwork and other activities, there could be an additional risk. This is why it is more important than ever that children, parents and carers know how to stay safe online.

It is important that parents and carers talk to their children about online safety, show an interest in what they are doing online, and ask what they like and dislike about the apps and services they use. Discuss age appropriate ‘ground rules’ like how much time they spend online doing different things and what games and apps are appropriate to use. Also consider setting up and reviewing age appropriate parental controls. Setting parental controls can be a quick and effective tool to help protect children online.

Where can I go to get support to help keep my child safe online?

There is support available to keep your child safe online. You can access information on keeping children safe online: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-keeping-children-safe-online/coronavirus-covid-19-support-for-parents-and-carers-to-keep-children-safe-online.

Here are some useful links to help parents and carers.

· Parent Info, https://parentinfo.org/ is a collaboration between Parentzone and the NCA providing support and guidance for parents from leading experts and organisations.

· Childnet, https://www.childnet.com/parents-and-carers/parent-and-carer-toolkit provides a tool kit to support parents and carers of children of any age to start discussions about their online life, to set boundaries around online behaviour and technology use, and to find out where to get more help and support.

· Internet Matters, https://www.internetmatters.org/ provides age-specific online safety checklists, guides on how to set parental controls on a range of devices and a host of practical tips to help children get the most out of their digital world.

· LGfL, https://www.lgfl.net/online-safety/default.aspx – support for parents and carers to keep their children safe online, including 6 top tips to keep primary aged children safe online.

· Net Aware, https://www.net-aware.org.uk/ – support for parents and carers from the NSPCC, providing a guide to social networks, apps and games.

· Let’s Talk About It, https://www.ltai.info/staying-safe-online/ – support for parents and carers to keep children safe from online radicalisation.

· UK Safer Internet Centre, https://www.saferinternet.org.uk/advice-centre/parents-and-carers – tips, advice, guides and resources to help keep children safe online, including parental controls offered by home internet providers and safety tools on social networks and other online services.

· staying safe online, https://www.gov.uk/guidance/covid-19-staying-safe-online – government guidance offering advice on parental controls, fact-checking information, communicating with family and friends while social distancing is in place and taking regular breaks.

What support is available to parents to help them maintain their family’s wellbeing while their children are at home?

Social connections, alongside exercise, sleep, diet and routine, are important protective factors for mental health. Materials to promote and support mental wellbeing are included in the list of online resources we have published to help children to learn at home: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-online-education-resources/coronavirus-covid-19-list-of-online-education-resources-for-home-education/.  

Public Health England’s Rise Above platform: https://riseabove.org.uk/ supports young people. The Department of Health and Social Care is providing £5 million of additional funding to support mental health charities to increase their provision for adults and children at this time.

Social isolation, reduced exercise and bereavement may affect children’s wellbeing in this period. Resources to promote and support children and young people’s mental wellbeing include:

· MindEd educational resources for adults about children and young people’s mental health: https://www.minded.org.uk/ which is relevant for parents and carers as well as volunteers, teachers, and other professionals working with children.

· Every Mind Matters platform: https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/ which supports looking after your own and other’s mental health.

· guidance on looking after and supporting children’s wellbeing and mental health during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-the-public-on-mental-health-and-wellbeing/guidance-for-the-public-on-the-mental-health-and-wellbeing-aspects-of-coronavirus-covid-19

All NHS mental health trusts are setting up 24/7 helplines and seeking to use digital and virtual channels to continue delivering support during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

We are struggling with access to Art and Craft resources. Can you help?

KCS Suppliers https://kcsconnect.co.uk/ and Specialist Crafts https://www.specialistcrafts.co.uk may be of use to you. From discussions with both companies, we know they are willing to take private orders for households and deliver art materials to your door within 3 working days. KCS and Specialist Crafts usually deliver art materials to the schools. However, they have recognised the challenging circumstances and are adapting to help pupils/students continue with their home learning; they are happy to help with keeping you fully stocked!

If, for any reason, you need help with this, please do not hesitate to let us know. We will do our very best to support you and your family.

I still do not have my Free School Meals Vouchers. What should I do?

if you have any outstanding problems or queries with Free School Meals Vouchers, please do notify your respective Headteacher, so that this can be swiftly followed up. We are aware that this is important to you and, as such, we will prioritise it.

As a family, we are struggling. What should I do?

If, for any reason, you cannot access your respective school in the timeframe you need, please use the Kent Together helpline which can be accessed 24 hours a day via www.kent.gov.uk/KentTogether and 03000 41 92 92 – this is a single point of urgent contact for anyone in Kent who is in serious need of help during the Coronavirus outbreak.

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Oak National Academy

Oak National Academy is a new collection of high-quality lessons and online resources. Backed by the Government, it has been created in response to the coronavirus lockdown. Our online classroom offers free access to great teachers, delivering video lessons, quizzes and worksheets. Available for both primary and secondary levels, it covers a range of subjects. All of the lessons are ordered so your child can learn along a clear plan. We’ll provide new lessons and resources each week. https://www.thenational.academy/information-for-parents-pupils/

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Government Guidance for Schools, Colleges and Local Authorities

As a country, we all need to do what we can to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

That is why the government has given clear guidance on self-isolation, household isolation and social distancing.

And the most recent scientific advice on how to further limit the spread of COVID-19 is clear. If children can stay safely at home, they should, to limit the chance of the virus spreading.

That is why the government has asked parents to keep their children at home, wherever possible, and asked schools to remain open only for those children who absolutely need to attend.

It is important to underline that schools, colleges and other educational establishments remain safe places for children. But the fewer children making the journey to school, and the fewer children in educational settings, the lower the risk that the virus can spread and infect vulnerable individuals in wider society.

Schools are, therefore, being asked to continue to provide care for a limited number of children – children who are vulnerable and children whose parents are critical to the Covid-19 response and cannot be safely cared for at home.

Please read the full guidance on Childcare the gov website.

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Coronavirus childrens books

Children and young people want to feel assured that their parents and carers can keep them safe. One of the best ways to achieve this is by talking openly about what is happening and providing honest answers to any questions they have. Explain what is being done to keep them and their loved ones safe, including any actions they can take to help, such as washing their hands more often than usual. Use words and explanations that they can understand. There are resources available to help you do this, including the Children’s Commissioner’s Children’s Guide to Coronavirus, or the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) have produced a storybook developed by and for children around the world affected by coronavirus (COVID-19).

Social Work Toolkit have produced an online book called Coronavirus: A book for children that is accessible to every child and family and the book is offered free of charge to anyone who wants to read it.

There are translated versions of another simple book for young children about coronavirus, in English and in 26 other languages. A new storybook, produced by a collaboration of more than 50 humanitarian organizations, also available in 24 languages. It aims to help children understand and come to terms with Covid-19.

The Literacy Trust website and their book, ‘The Book of Hopes: Words and Pictures to Comfort, Inspire and Entertain Children in Lockdown’ is completely free for all children and families, and the extraordinary collection of short stories, poems, essays and pictures has contributions from more than 110 children’s writers and illustrators.