Year 8 pupils, Lilian and Gemma, both Wellbeing Peer Mentors, attended the first ever joint Health and Social Care & Children’s Services Scrutiny Committee on Tuesday 5 February, to speak to Bradford Councillor's about why Mental Health and Wellbeing is so important to them.

Mrs Bamforth, Leader of the Learning Support Centre has been working with pupils to create a peer support group for pupils to be able to ‘drop in’ and speak at ease to fellow classmates.

Lillian and Gemma were extremely well received by the committee and answered some hard hitting questions from the council panel including how they seek support when they need it and what was in place for their own wellbeing.

The appearance at the panel was the first duty of their role as the Mental Health Champion Project’s first ever ‘Young Champions’.

The Young Champions will be invited to meet with the other ten schools’ Young Champions, who are a part of the first wave of new student MHC’s. The aim is for the new Young Champions to provide Mental Health and Wellbeing promotion within school so that difficult issues become as normal to speak about as what you are having for lunch. The Young Champions will also represent their schools in advising NHS and Bradford Council leaders of what pupils need from the Mental Health Champions project as well as taking part in Mental Health training, ‘Champion Bitesize’ to equip them to support other pupils that may be facing difficult situations.

Faye Keenan, Project Development Officer for the project said: "I was absolutely blown away by Lilian and Gemma, they spoke so passionately and really got the council leaders to hear their message, that supporting one another is the most important thing to them and other pupils’. Labour Councillor Ralph Berry stated that he feared they may be ‘out of a job’ upon hearing Lillian and Gemma’s presentation to the panel as he was so impressed with the ideas they put forward.

Other Young People in attendance included Peer Mentors, the Youth service and Young Ambassadors who all shared powerful and very positive experiences with the board.

Written by F. Keenan. 

Picture: Group of Peer Mentors, including Lilian and Gemma.