Local Engagement: Mental Health Awareness Week

  • 13th May 2024

RIAT Donation helps primary school offer mental health support to pupils

Gloucestershire’s Kempsford Primary School have secured mental health support for their pupils following a donation from the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT).

Earlier this year, RIAT, which operates out of the neighbouring town to the school, provided them with a grant to secure the service for the rest of the school year after it faced uncertainty due to a lack of funding.

The service, Emotional Literacy Support Assistants (ELSA), is available to all pupils at Kempsford Primary, with uptake increasing since it was first offered in 2022.

Headteacher, Mrs Seward, said the programme has huge benefits to children and helps them with a variety of different areas in their life ranging from bereavement to anxiety.

“The sessions are specific to the needs of the children or group of children. They provide the children with time with a friendly, supportive adult that they trust,” she said.

“It enables them to have time to discuss the focus and together build strategies towards their target.

“ELSA can be as a result of something instant such as family death or a situation that is ongoing.

“Without these sessions many of the children would feel they are not being listened to and their ability to manage the situation would become difficult and can result in unwanted behaviour.

“The main challenge is providing the funding to pay someone's wages to do it. Without the grant provided ELSA would have had to have stopped at February half term.

“The trained ELSA goes above and beyond to see as many children as possible in one day but this is not always possible so the second challenge is time.

This week marks the start of start of Mental Health Awareness week, which encourages people to discuss their mental wellbeing.

One parent, whose child has received support from the ELSA practitioner said the sessions have been hugely beneficial.

“My child has been attending Elsa session due to experiencing grief from the loss of his nanny,” they said.

“These sessions mean everything to him and I can't praise the support enough.

“The bond my child has with his Elsa support is lovely to see and it's not just the weekly sessions

it's the knowing he has someone he can turn to for emotional support at any point in his school day.

The Royal Air Force Charitable Trust Enterprises, the organisers of RIAT, made the donation and have also pledged support to other local causes.

To enquire about support, contact CommunityMatters@rafcte.com with the subject line ‘Local Engagement’.