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The Prince’s Trust Team programme often has a number of young people who have had / or are suffering from long-term mental health needs and physical health needs.

As a Team, we decided to introduce several different mindfulness and emotional wellbeing tools to help educate the students around their own sense of self and how to be present in the moment. These tools equip the students with the knowledge on how to empower themselves and deal with day to day living which can be incredibly difficult for them.

One of the first schemes we introduced was offering yoga during Team. For this, we partnered with Sky Blue Yoga, based in Stafford, who visit weekly and offer a range of restorative and challenging yoga. These sessions are based on the needs of the group, and also their dynamic with each other. Yoga can often be misconceived as easy or pointless, but has proven benefits on physical and mental health. Our students now look forward to their yoga sessions and can see the benefits in themselves.

We have also been improving the Team’s link with their local police force. This helps introduce the students to their local community where previously students have been isolated and withdrawn. The police sessions offer the students a unique insight to the role of the police within Staffordshire.

One of the exciting schemes we’ve introduced is the Bike to Team scheme. For this, we have teamed up with CycleR in Cannock. We identify students who live local to the Team location, and they are offered the opportunity to have a pushbike to travel into Team rather than either walking or using public transport. Cycling has huge benefits to physical and mental health and increases energy. Students are able to keep the pushbike on completion of the course which then gives them more flexibility when applying for jobs as they can travel further.

We have also started to offer out Amazon Fire Tablets to those who complete the Team programme. The benefit of this tablet is that students can access the internet through these devices, which makes it easier to apply for jobs which can reduce anxiety. The Amazon Fire Tablets can also access social media which allows the students to keep in contact with their peers, therefore reducing social isolation.

Linking in with the Bike to Team scheme is the partnership with Slimming World. Slimming World delivers a session which proves you can eat healthily on a budget. On their visit to the Team, they bring with them several different food options for the students to try and we can offer to pay for Team members who feel that they would benefit from Slimming World.

During Team, we also try and get the Team members out and about in their local community – rather than being in an environment similar to a classroom too often. These walks are often exploring the local heritage of Staffordshire – or exploring the natural beauty of Cannock Chase. These walks and visits give the students a much needed opportunity to reflect and relax during Team. We often find that the students spend time with different team members, therefore the group dynamic is wider and the students feel more confident in socialising with other people.

The last thing that we have introduced is exploring Empowerment and Identity boards. This allows the students to identify where they are right now, where they want to be, and giving students an identity which many of our students lack when they join us.

As a team of professionals we constantly strive to improve student’s outcomes academically and pastorally. 85% of our students have a positive outcome at the end of Team with all reporting improved self esteem and feel better prepared to re-enter the world of work or training.
Andrew Boyle, Team Leader Stafford