The Mayor of Waltham Forest Cllr Yemi Osho launches ‘The Listening Club’ at Chingford Foundation School
The Mayor of Waltham Forest Cllr Yemi Osho launched ‘The Listening Club’ at Chingford Foundation School on Thursday 22nd March. With young people under increased pressure at home and school, some suffering from anxiety, and 1 in 10 now having a diagnosable mental health disorder, Chingford Foundation School wanted to ensure their students have access to the support they need early on, to increase wellbeing in school.
Sharon Goldstone, Safeguarding & Mental Health Officer has set up a School Peer Listening Service, alongside other care systems already in place in the School, to help address this dilemma. Sharon, along with the Head Girl, Kanaan Ashley raised awareness of developing a new service in assemblies.
Many students came forward and went through a rigorous application process. 25 students and 8 support staff attended two weekends of training to help those involved learn to listen and talk to their peers.
One of the youngest Peer Listeners. a Year 7 student said, “Before the Project I was helped with my anxiety which I have now overcome, so I decided I wanted to help others. We learnt many new skills. The thing I learnt the most, was that we were there to listen and question our peers, not to offer advice, to keep it confidential but pass on if students of others were at risk".
The new service goes live on 16th April 2018 where students and staff supporters will offer a drop in service on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday lunchtimes. The team will also patrol the playgrounds wearing Hi Vis vests, while others will operate from the Wellbeing Room for students to pop in for a chat.
Members of the team will also be supporting the Mayor at her ‘Marketplace of Opportunities’ event on 24th March 2018, offering a platform for students in Waltham Forest to come together with their peers to discuss the key issues and challenges that impact their lives and to explore solutions.