Kevan Garvey gave me an update on activity at St John Houghton school in Ilkeston. It’s going very well and we are so pleased. Here’s what he told me:
“A couple of weeks ago I made a second book delivery to St John Houghton, Ilkeston to add to their ‘WTF Wellbeing Library’. The school’s library is situated in their Emmaus Centre. Even though the Centre was quiet, it certainly wasn’t empty as there were a number of students who had taken themselves away from the busy school day; a day which had the usual challenges and the additional anxiety triggers of Covid testing and mask wearing. However, it all felt purposeful and productive.
There was a busy calmness about the classroom, with an overwhelming sense of support and trust between teachers and students.
I was greeted with a warm hello and a sincere thank you from the one of the team of teachers. She expressed how grateful the team are for the wonderfully diverse range of reading and support material WTF had provided. She’d enthusiastically leapt up and proudly showed me the newly organised bookshelf, and fully stocked leaflet holders, all donated by WTF.
She told me there were students now making “straight for the library”. Students who would never previously read. Students, who would put up barriers, obstacles and resistance to reading, who were now freely accessing the library.
And it wasn’t just new book titles I was there to deliver; it was also a whole range of additional resources such as branded pens and notebooks. I also brought vouchers for the school to add to their digital mental well-being resources on the Kindles.
The writing materials have been a great success. Feedback by St John’s about how their students are using the writing materials to help manage and support their well- being has been overwhelmingly positive. They are using the pens and note pads to externalise their thoughts and feelings, using the opportunity to off load and to try and make sense of how they are feeling.
As I left St John’s, it felt like a real partnership between the school, their students and WTF had been struck up. Like we are making a small but valuable difference to the mental well-being of young people in our local community. I was proud that our charity, the charity named after our son, is helping give young people at St John’s the chance to make positive changes to their lives.” (Kevan Garvey)