Best Foot Forward

Best Foot Forward won Wirral Third Sector Business Award 2017 for Project of the Year, sponsored by Inteb and contributed to our second Wirral Third Sector Business Award 2017 for Children and Young People sponsored by Daisy and Jakes Day Nursery. We are also a finalist in the FHT Excellence in Practice Awards 2017 for our integration of a holistic approach to well-being when delivering the programme.

We recognise that the expectations and demands on young people can sometimes be overwhelming, without the coping strategies in place to manage them, resulting in anxiety, self harm and mental health issues. This was reported by schools, social workers, mental health professionals and statistics, as part of our consultation process.

UK statistics report that 1 in 10 children suffer from mental health condition. 70% do not receive adequate support. This contributes to the 1 in 4 adults who are diagnosed with a mental health condition every year. These are not just statistics, these are people that we know. It is evident from these statistics that children and young people need more information and skills to build resilience and understand how to manage emotions effectively, integrating the theory of Positive Mental Health into every day life.

Best Foot Forward aims to address these issues at an early age, educating and empowering children to understand why positive mental health is important, so they can be empowered to manage emotions, physiology, putting solid foundations in place, in which a toolkit of coping mechanisms can be built to support the child through their journey into adulthood.

The programme can be used for any age group, even adults, however, our greatest success is delivering it to young people aged 7-11, helping individuals to understand their brain, emotions and strategies for managing daily demands with greater confidence and resilience, improving well-being and performance as they journey forwards, taking on demands with greater confidence and resilience.

This positive mental health coaching programme can be offered as a 1 day taster workshop or 2 and 3 day course, helps young people to gain a deeper understanding of themselves and develop skills to feel more confident to deal with life's challenges, with stronger communication.

Watch our promo video for Best Foot Forward 2017
During our workshop, children will explore :

• Mental health, what it means and how it impacts on performance

• The stress response and physiology of the brain

• How we create patterns of behaviour

• How to identify Early Warning Signs

• Experience a number of team games to promote a sense of teamwork, fun and well-being

• Managing emotions during difficult moments

Our course is delivered during school time, evenings, weekends or holidays and ideally, would be over 3 days, although a slightly reduced programme can be done in 2.

Our Best Foot Forward course helps individuals to feel intrinsically motivated to set and achieve goals, learning to recognise and manage their barriers to achievement. We use an interactive approach in order to deliver key messages and theory about mental health, emotions and coping strategies. The programme is delivered through classroom based activity and physical movement, in which we use motivational video’s, dynamic games and activities, team building, leadership skills and coaching skills in order to delivery a theory based programme. This enables the children to experience how it feels to be part of a team, ask for help, use strategies to feel calm and grounded and communicate in different ways. Each session has an element of theory, completed with relevant games, sports coaching and activities to reinforce those key messages.

Key topics covered include:

• Understanding Mental Health

• The value of teams and creating our own, exploring success

• Goal setting, Growth and limiting beliefs – What’s stopping you?

• Early warning signs and understanding me

• The chimp brain, physiology and managing emotions

• Switching on the relaxation response, anchoring, visualisation, positive thinking and ways to feel good. This uses a researched bio feedback computer software programme

• Developing Communication Skills (Using Lego Therapy and other activities)

• Skills to success and overcoming barriers

• Communication skills & Developing Positive Support Networks

Our Peer Coaching Programme, in which we recruit and train teenagers to be positive role models, sharing their stories and facilitate group activities, has been exceptionally successful and adds significant value to the process. This has won the Princess Diana Award for Excellence in Practice on two occasions and currently awaiting the outcome of a third nomination and consistently being developed.

Best Foot Forward has proved incredibly successful in helping young people overcome limiting beliefs, mindsets and difficulties in their life. Evidence from our programme demonstrates improved attitudes, school attendance and engagement, increased confidence, improved relationships and coping mechanisms, with reduced concerns for mental health, following our intervention. Through our programme, we have now worked with over 500 young people in the UK in 2 years, delivering this programme and delighted with the feedback, outcomes and impact.

Our previous cohort of Peer Coaches have progressed from course participants to Trainee Peer Coaches, for which they volunteered on our South Africa volunteer programme, working with 2,500 children from Cape Town in 2016 as part of a project with another local organisation, HQ Coaching. These young people are now graduate mentors and work with Next Chapter, supporting the long term delivery and growth of the programme, as well as supporting new Trainee Coaches. We are exceptionally proud of all that they have achieved and are an integral part of how our programme has grown over the years.