Launched earlier this year, Burnley FC in the Community’s Schools’ Mental Wellbeing Project continues to positively impact the lives of young people across East Lancashire.
As part of the project, Burnley FC’s official charity placed seven Psychological Wellbeing Practitioners (PWP) into five Burnley and two Pendle secondary schools, in response to the increasing number of cases arising in schools of pupils suffering from mental health issues. Offering one-to-one support, the early intervention project also aims to increase awareness of mental health among the Burnley community.
BFCitC recently invited several young male students from each of the five schools; Unity College, Burnley High, Blessed Trinity, Shuttleworth College and West Craven High, to take part in a confidence and self-esteem workshop at Turf Moor.
The group of 19 pupils were identified by the Schools’ Mental Wellbeing Project (SMWP) staff as needing support in these areas and would therefore benefit the most from the targeted session, with the reasons for lack of confidence and self-esteem often including bereavements or the strain of terminally ill carers or parents.
Activities at the workshop included an open discussion on ‘what is self-esteem and confidence’, followed by a mirror activity where each student listed what they see when they look in the mirror, which in the case of some pupils were negative observations. This was then counteracted with the group making many positive comments about each other to boost self-esteem.
To enhance confidence skills the group took part in an activity where one group member was blindfolded, and the others had to provide instructions on how to draw an image. The aim of this task was to increase confidence levels and trust within the team.
Alongside the activities the group enjoyed a ground tour of the Clarets famous stadium before a visit from Burnley FC and the project’s ambassador Ben Mee, who took part in the workshop’s activities and a question and answer session before handing out certificates and posing for photos.
Adam a student from Unity College said: “I felt nervous about the day at first as I did not know what to expect or who was going to be there. I am not very confident and struggle to speak to new people. It was strange at first having to speak to people I had never met before and I was a bit anxious but as each task went on I got to know them and began to feel more comfortable.
“Before the workshop it bothered me that I was a shy person, however I have been trying to make more of an effort since, to speak to new and different people in school, even if I am nervous at first. I am also trying to help my grandma more and making my own dinners at home. This helps to boost my self-esteem and I feel good about myself knowing I have helped my grandma and made things easier for her.
“Before the workshop I knew that other people had problems and that they struggled in some way, but the day made me realise that everybody thinks badly about themselves from time to time. It was nice to know that I am not the only one thinking like this sometimes. People usually hide how they feel, especially with social media it can be easy to hide what is going on. The workshop helped me understand how others really feel.
“I found the blind fold challenge the most difficult as I wasn’t really sure what I was doing. The other people in my team really helped me though and it turned out ok. I felt happy with how my drawing turned out and was proud of myself for doing it. This has taught me that sometimes things can be difficult but if you work with others it can make it a lot easier and, in the end, you will feel proud of yourself.
“I enjoyed the day a lot! It was really exciting doing the different tasks with different people. I was nervous at first because I didn’t know what to expect, but as it went on and I became more used to it I felt really good and the nerves went away.”
All the students that attended confirmed they had taken something valuable from the workshop and Schools’ Mental Wellbeing Project staff have noticed a profound difference back at school.
To find out more about BFCitC’s Schools’ Mental Wellbeing Project click here.