What is HeadStart?

In 2014 Cumbria was one of 12 areas awarded £500,000 by the Big Lottery Fund (BLF) as part of their national HeadStart programme to build the emotional resilience of children and young people aged 10 to 16 years. 

The aim was to test and learn from a number of different approaches to building emotional resilience for children and young people aged 10—16 years. Some aspects of the project were universal and some were targeted at more vulnerable groups.

BLF wanted to focus on improving the resilience and lives of young people by working in four areas:

•  A child’s time and experiences at school

•  Their ability to access the community services they need

•  Their home life and relationship with family members

•  Their interaction with digital technology.

The long term aim is to help children and young people to build emotional resilience, emotional wellbeing and mental health,  supporting the way a young person lives, rather than just a set of services, and which reflects the need to engage in school, at home, in the community and through digital technology.

Cumbria Headstart programme was piloted across the Furness Peninsula and Carlisle in 2 secondary schools in each locality, 5 feeder Primary Schools, the special schools and Pupil Referral Units/Hospital Home Tuition.

Projects were delivered via a range of activities, interventions and community action which are both innovative and evidence based which provided a mix or ‘blend’ of approaches. Some elements were offered on a universal basis to all those 10 to 16 year olds in the identified HeadStart areas and some were targeted activities or interventions aimed at those children and young people at risk of developing common mental health problems and/or already causing concern in relation to increased risk.

Our work