On Tuesday 22nd November, HRH The Duchess of Cambridge, Royal Patron of the children’s mental health charity Place2Be, presented an Award to 11-year-old Cerys Kenny from Longwood Primary Academy in Harlow, which forms part of our Harlow cluster. The award was presented at the Place2Be Wellbeing in Schools Awards at Mansion House in London. Cerys won the ‘Child Champion Award’, kindly supported by The White Company, which recognised her commitment to promoting positive mental health in her school community.
Cerys was nominated by her school for developing “The Kenny Approach” – a workbook that bears her name and helps pupils to overcome anger and to explore their feelings around issues upsetting them. This has been accessed by a large number of pupils to explore feelings around parent separation, domestic violence, bullying, friendships, siblings and jealousy.The workbook has raised the profile of emotional wellbeing and mental health, reaching everyone in the school from the youngest pupils to the senior leadership team. It has also been shared across the Academy Trust and is now being adopted by a second primary school. Her school said, “Cerys’s approach will benefit countless individuals in need of compassion.”
The Awards are supported by the Garfield Weston Foundation. Place2Be partner schools were invited to nominate school leaders, teachers, support staff, parent champions, child champions and Place2Be counsellors who go above and beyond to enhance the life of the school community. The winners in the nine Award categories were selected from almost 100 entries and announced in front of 350 guests at the Awards ceremony at Mansion House.
In a speech at the Awards, HRH The Duchess of Cambridge spoke of her admiration for the work of schools in supporting mental health,
“I have been privileged over recent years to visit a number of schools and to meet the teachers, volunteers, and parents who make Place2Be’s work a reality. Together, you ensure your students know they have somewhere to turn, someone who will listen, or simply a safe place to escape.”
The Duchess added,
“As you all recognise through your support of Place2Be, even the luckiest people can face great challenges. No matter how invincible we seem on the surface, all of us need help from time to time. This is why William, Harry and I have set up the Heads Together campaign. We want to end the stigma surrounding mental health that stops people getting the help that and support that they so desperately need.”
Place2Be President, Dame Benny Refson, DBE said,
“The Wellbeing in Schools Awards are an opportunity to acknowledge the amazing work that happens in Place2Be schools to champion positive mental health for children and young people. I’d like to congratulate Cerys – in a world where we hear so many stories of stigma and fear, it is important to celebrate the brave and inspirational champions, who do so much to ensure than no one in their communities is ever afraid to ask for help when they need it.”
Cerys Kenny, pupil from Longwood Primary Academy, said,
“It is a great honour receiving such an important award and making a difference. I am looking forward to the Kenny Approach website that will be live in 2017.”