The I am F.O.C.U.S.Ed Youth Fitness Mentoring Programme was created to promote mental and physical health and also to teach the value of education and healthy lifestyle to vulnerable young people ages 11 to 18 primarily those in looked after care.
This programme will offer 12 young people that are dealing with emotional struggle a chance to regain focus on their lives through physical exercise and mentoring. The fitness sessions are on a one to one basis in order to provide individual support which is what the young people really appreciate and enjoy.
The programme currently provides a single 60 minute session per week for a period of six weeks, access to a positive role model, personal development workbook and a mentor to help them manage their daily struggles and make them realize their true potential.
The benefits of physical activity for children and young people are exceptional and range from building confidence and social skills, developing co-ordination, improving concentration and learning, strengthening of muscles and bones to improving health and fitness, maintaining a healthy weight, improving sleep and giving an overall sense of feeling good.
“The programme has helped me build up my strength. I've also started to think about my short, medium and long term goals”
Research also confirms that quality mentoring relationships have powerful, positive effects on young people in a variety of personal, academic, and professional situations.
“National prevalence rates suggest that 45% of children who are Looked After meet the criteria for a mental health disorder” (ONS, 2002)
Between 10.4% (n=6796) and 11% (n=7188), of children and young people (aged under 19) in Barking and Dagenham are estimated to currently having a diagnosable mental health problem. This rate is higher than the national average of 9.3%.
In 2015 the Health and Wellbeing Board for Barking and Dagenham agreed that a clearer strategy for the development of mental health support was needed, given the complex and challenging position of health and social care services and the need to respond to a range of initiatives intended to create positive change in mental health.
The programme first launched in 2017, after a meeting with the Headteacher of the Virtual School for Enfield Council Looked After Children (LAC), where I explained how fitness had a positive impact on my life, after being diagnosed with a mental health illness. Shortly after that a group of young people were selected to take part in the programme, after which the LAC have continually referred young people to the service based on the positive impact it had on the young peoples lives.
“Physical activity, and particularly moderate to vigorous physical activity [MVPA], has a positive effect on reducing future depressive symptoms in middle childhood,” said Tonje Zahl, M.S.C., of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.
My previous experience of working in education for nearly 15 years as a secondary school teacher, then rising to the middle leader management team, has given me the skills to work with young people from a variety of challenging and vulnerable backgrounds.
The current programme can only offer a single 60 minute session per week for a period of six weeks and in the case of an unfortunate cancellation from a young person they would have to wait another week for their next session which means that momentum can be lost and it takes on average at least 3 sessions for trust to be built which often means the sessions are over by the time the young people become comfortable. Not all of them are able to access extra sessions, due to funding which causes the work to be limited.
Sessions sometimes also get canceled due to some young people wearing unsuitable clothing and lack of energy from poor eating or poor hydration. Not being able to get a hold of them to schedule sessions due to them not having phone credit is also an issue.
“Sometimes I had to move care homes and I missed a session...It would be good to have more ”
By donating you will be contributing to extending the programme from one session to two sessions of 60 minutes each when working individual or 90 minutes when working in pairs (gym buddy system) for a period of 8 weeks.
Each young person will receive a clothing and footwear allowance, a pre workout snack, post workout meal and phone credit where necessary.
They will also have access to body image sessions and a healthy eating programme .
Your donations will also help provide the course materials for Youth MHFA delivery for 16 staff, parents and carers, a one-day course that qualifies the delegates as a Youth MHFA Champion enabling them to:
have an understanding of common mental health issues and how they can affect young people
give them the ability to spot signs of mental ill health and guide them to a place of support
knowledge and confidence to advocate for mental health awareness
skills to support positive wellbeing.
The course will be delivered FREE of charge by Andrea Corbett, a qualified Youth MHFA Instructor
The aim is to raise £12000 which will cover the cost for
16 fitness sessions for 12 young people:
£ 726.84 will cover the gym membership fees
£1152 will help provide snacks, meals & water
£1200 will go towards Clothing & Footwear
£ 6433.16 will cover the cost of the Fitness Mentoring & Personal Development sessions (£536.10 per young person)
£ 488 will cover the material and room hire for the Youth Mental Health First Aid Champion training
£ 960 will cover the Crowdfunder fee (8%)
£ 450 will cover the cost of the rewards
£ 590 (approx) will go towards misc. admin
If the target is reached, every additional £792.67 raised will go towards enabling another young person
to join the programme.
With your support F.O.C.U.S can be more effective in providing fitness mentoring to vulnerable young
people who are in difficult situations in order to help them focus on creating their ultimate self.
"Physical Activity saved my life!"
I, Andrea Corbett was diagnosed with a mental health illness in February 2015. As a result, I was advised to go to the gym to help manage my illness when I came to the realisation that I needed a reason to go to the gym. I decided to set myself a goal to compete in a bodybuilding show. I ended up winning that show and was titled UKBFF National Women’s Physique Champion 2015. I noticed the benefits of physical activity and continued with training after the show. In October 2015, I resigned from my role as an inner London secondary school teacher, due to low confidence and self-esteem. I thought I would never be able to work with young people again.
In 2016 I made some serious lifestyle changes, starting with weaning myself of the anti-depressants and alcohol, practicing daily self-care routines and learning about the facts surrounding mental health. When I started to focus on myself, positive changes started to happen in my life. This is when Focus On Creating Your Ultimate Self Community Interest Company (CIC) was born, to deliver health and wellbeing workshops to communities.
My bodybuilding career has continued, I hold the title for the 5th place title in both the IFBB World Championships and the IFBB European Championships, currently I am the only Women’s Physique competitor to have ever represented the UK in either competitions. In my most recent competition (October 2017) I was runner-up at the UKBFF British Finals.
I am now a qualified Personal Trainer and Youth Mental Health First Aid Instructor. I have completed suicide and mental health first aid training . In my spare time I volunteer for Barking & Dagenham Community Health Champions, Thrive London, Time to Change, Rethink Mental Health and London Healthy Workplace Charter as a Verifier. My passion is talking about my lived experience and how I turned my adversity in an advantage, to help others as well as myself. I do this by being a Plenary Speaker for Mental Health England, and a variety of public speaking events. I have also setup a podcast, inviting individuals to tell their story on how they turned their adversity in an advantage, to setup their business.