Children and Young People Mental Wellbeing Project 2022

The picture contains the funders of the Children and Young People Wellbeing Project 2022. They are as follows: Arts work supporting young minds, Arts mark, Arts Award and the Arts Council England.

With funding from Artswork and Reading Borough Council, we have commissioned three projects to improve wellbeing for children and young people up to the age of 25 across all of Reading. The project is being delivered in schools and communities with a focus on youngsters already facing disadvantage. We will be collecting evidence from all parts of the project in partnership with the University of Sussex to form a theory of how involvement in arts and culture can improve wellbeing through development of inter-personal and intra-personal skills.

At the end of this page there are details about training that has been commissioned as part of this project that you can take part in. Please email to book your place.

Project Strands

Theatre for children at risk of exclusion/missing education

The first strand of this project is a partnership between Make/Sense Theatre and RABBLE Theatre who will provide a creative alternative provision for SEN/SEMH children and young people experiencing problems with their school’s mainstream curriculum offer or who have already been excluded and may be attending a Pupil Referral Unit. They will be running this exciting new creative programme for primary and secondary school students from KS2-KS4 every Tuesday from January until July.

Experts in their field, Make/Sense Theatre and RABBLE Theatre have specialist, highly experienced staff who will work with children and young people referred to this Drama programme using a trauma-informed approach. This safe and engaging environment will allow the participants to not only explore drama, but wider theatre making skills such as writing, puppetry, movement, and stage management with an aim to develop self-regulation skills, restore confidence and trust, and ultimately re-engage in their learning. Primary school children will work towards a Discover Arts Award and young people from Secondary school will work towards a Bronze Level 1 Arts Award – a flexible qualification that explores not just arts but leadership and career skills.

  • Primary school students attending Whitley Park are eligible to attend the primary sessions
  • Secondary school students (from any school) will be separated into two groups: eight places for Years 7 and 8, and eight places for ages Years 9-11
  • Taster sessions for young people who might benefit from this programme will be offered within individual school settings after October half term
  • Schools will be asked to contribute to the cost of this intensive programme, up to £20 per student per session

Referrals will be accepted from any professional or parent. Email to find out more.

Dance Reading Projects

The second strand is a Dance Reading project that will work in selected schools.

  • Circus performances and workshops at Whitley Park Primary school
  • Kathak dance workshops at Geoffrey Fields primary school, with participation in the DIYA – Light it Up parade on 29th October 2022
  • 1:1 mentoring for up to 10 young people seeking more information about a career in the arts with opportunity to work towards a dance qualification
  • Workshops at John Madejski Academy with professional dancers from Far from the Norm and Joseph Toonga
  • An opportunity for 5 young people from JMA to produce their own dance event and gain a Bronze Arts Award

The company also runs a series of events in November as part of their festival which are open to the public which we would like to advertise to pupils and families.

You can book tickets to the festival here and enquire about mentoring by contacting

Reading Football Club

The third strand is with Reading FC Community Trust who are adding arts and creative projects to their current Premier League Kicks programme. Sessions are currently held at locations across Reading, including Whitley Park Primary school, the Ranikhet Academy, and Kings Academy Prospect.

  • In partnership with Spotlight UK more children will be able to take part in after school dance clubs
  • Alongside football and other sports, children who attend Kicks sessions will be able to explore their interests in dance, video-editing, and DJing as they work towards their Arts Award Discover or Explore
  • Participants will be supported to have a voice in their local communities through a social action group that has previously been part of local strategies for knife crime and safety for young people
  • All the young people involved will have a chance to take part in an exciting showcase hosted at the Select Car Leasing stadium

The current list of Kicks programmes can be found here or contact for more information.

Training for all

With the funding set aside for up-skilling arts organisations and schools we have commissioned bespoke free for any professionals to attend. I have also confirmed trainers from Brighter Futures for Children to deliver a session on the Autism Growth Strategy and Sensory Therapies, and highly recommended Play Specialist who delivers training nationally on the benefits of laughter not just for the young people but for the care of the practitioners that work with them. A team of professionals from Dramatic Recovery and Kazzum Arts – both national arts organisations specialised in delivering mental health and wellbeing outcomes – will be providing refresher sessions for practitioners as the project progresses to address any new concerns that arise and offer a confidential space outside of the project for arts organisations to offload. We are also commissioning online mental health workshops and Safeguarding training on an ad hoc basis for the needs of specific staff.

If you have any training needs that we might be able to commission, or you want to host a training day in your venue contact

Best Medicine

Tuesday 1st November, 9am-12:30pm. Civic Offices, Level 1 Collaboration Space RG1 2LU
8 spaces remaining
Look at the best medicine website to learn more.

Do you work in a setting where you support vulnerable adults or children? Would you like a training day which helps to connect your staff as well as teaching them practical wellbeing strategies?

This training day is fun engaging and informative, with participants walking away with a whole array of techniques that can be used and implemented at home or work! You will be lead through the physical and mental benefits of laughter and playfulness and then taught how to access and apply these strategies in difficult situations.

Fully practical, based in scientific evidence and guaranteed to get your team laughing together.

Dramatic Recovery

Tuesday 29th November, 9am-12pm. Venue TBC
12 spaces remaining
Learn more on the dramatic recovery website.

The workshop will consist of mental health and wellbeing training, which involves conversations, communication and empathy all through creative and interactive exercises and discussions. The training will have both written and practical elements and include real life scenarios and examples of situations for participants to use for their own experience. We will explore sensitive topics but also encourage the importance of practitioners’ own wellbeing and designate self-care time within the session.

We also explore elements of our courses such as: Real Life Rehearsal, where participants will be able to first hand role-play work-related situations for themselves.

Real Life Rehearsal is an innovative bespoke role-play course delivered and created to the community by Dramatic Recovery. Beneficiaries will have the opportunity to rehearse real life difficult situations, and as a result of this be more confident to work through inner struggles. With a hands-on practical approach. Dramatic Recovery aims to make these situations accessible in a safe space for the community and coach participants throughout.

Making sense of Autism

Friday 18th November 2pm-5pm. Online via MS Teams
10 spaces remaining
Learn more at the autism education trust.

This module was originally designed as an awareness-raising module for all staff in a school community, whether they be teachers, learning support assistants, school meals supervisors, or taxi drivers. The module provides an introduction to autism and the reasonable adjustments that need to be considered when working with autistic pupils. We have also secured time with a sensory therapist who can answer your questions about any young people you work with.

The aims

  • Enhance your understanding and awareness of autism and the three areas of difference that affect autistic pupils.
  • Equip you with the knowledge you need to begin to make reasonable adjustments in the way you support autistic pupils.

Learning objectives

  • Understand the importance of getting to know the pupil as an individual.
  • Approach autism as a difference rather than as a disorder or impairment.
  • Understand the importance of identifying the strengths and needs of autistic pupils.
  • Know how three areas of difference can affect autistic pupils.
  • Appreciate how important it is to listen to and learn from the perspectives of autistic pupils.
  • Reflect on and implement reasonable adjustments to support autistic pupils you work with.
Last updated on 07/11/2022