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Vision and Voice

Giving children and young people within the Opportunity Area the chance improve their confidence and happiness and, therefore, increasing the chance of them being able to fulfil their potential.


Head Teachers / School Leaders, Local Authorities, School Teachers


Mental Health and Wellbeing


Student/Family Support

Why was the project needed?

In line with national reports on mental health, and the particular negative impacts on young people having been distanced from their usual learning structures and friendship groups during the COVID-19 pandemic, we saw an increase in young people needing to access support for their mental health. Statutory services were struggling to cope with demand. Those who were in disadvantaged and marginalised groups prior to the pandemic were suffering even more from the detrimental impacts that disruption to learning, and access to supportive interventions and communities, had created.

What happened and what was the impact?

We commissioned support through a community pivot model already tried and tested across Suffolk through Vision and Voice; a group of Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) organisations already working collaboratively to meet the needs of children/young people and staff across education settings including:


  • Green Light Trust (GLT)
  • Community Praxis (CP)
  • Ipswich & Suffolk Council for Racial Equality (ISCRE)
  • Volunteering Matters (VM)
  • Access Community Trust (ACT)
  • Noise Solutions (NS)
  • Survivors in Transition(SiT)
  • Menta (M)

What did and didn't work?

The range of offers meant schools/setting could take up smaller than normal placements based on their specific needs. The community pivot model meant VCS organisations could pool funding therefore making it sustainable. Vision and Voice could respond to actual needs presented by school and setting.

Some providers where unable to fulfil their obligations and some of the placements had demand which outstripped supply.

Programme Delivery

The programme was delivered in 2 phases:

Phase One

  1. ACT ‘Peace Meal’: Through their PINK Orange suite of services. The Peace Meal concept was an add on from PINK Orange Essentials and included additional wellbeing support through items such as worry dolls, educational resources and access to mental health support services in addition to the usual signposting across services in the third sector alongside the original box of food and menu.
  2. GLT ‘Natural Alternative’: Natural alternative was a person-centred programme delivered by GLT. It allowed those struggling for whatever reason, be it mental health, anxiety, behaviour, SEND or any other challenges to develop through access to the natural environment
  3. SiT ‘Tope’: This was a confidential abuse support scheme for young people (13+) and was a relatively new and much-needed service for Suffolk. The investment in this scheme allowed for it to be directly promoted in the schools within the Opportunity Area as well as increasing its capacity to work directly with targeted schools. Subsequent support for young people was funded by SiT
  4. CP: Therapeutically informed youth work. delivered in blocks of 6 sessions to individuals. These 6 sessions targeted children/young people who would benefit from a therapeutically informed youth worker. The sessions were underpinned with building positive and meaningful relationships, children/young people were given the means to name their world, explore a sense of responsibility and participation along exposure to new situations and environments. All participants had Clarity 4d profile and action plan produced.
  5. ISCRE: conducted an Equality Impact Assessment, created and managed the implementation of an action plan through a school/community reference group.
  6. VM ‘Mentors’: offered mentoring to children/young people of all ages across the Opportunity Area with referrals made directly to VM by the school
  7. Menta: Through Clarity 4D approximately 50 profiles were produced through the other engagements in this offer. The youth profile was aimed at 14 – 19-year-olds and supported a variety of integrated areas and was also utilised as an opportunity to attach the usual 1 dimensional CV with a clarity profile, giving a rounded approach to those looking at supporting the individual with skills enterprise or employability options


Phase Two

  1. GLT delivered a 12 week natural alternative provision for 8 girls from The Oaks Primary School; and a 6 week natural alternative provision for 8 children as placements from various Opportunity Area schools.
  2. CP delivered a Staff Wellbeing package to approximately 75 staff from various schools within the Opportunity Area.
  3. ISCRE conducted an Equality and Diversity assessment of a further 2 schools.
  4. VM provided 10 mentors to work with children/young people needing support in various schools within the Opportunity Area.
  5. NS provided their music therapy package to 9 children/young people, who needed support, in various schools within the Opportunity Area.


Ingredients For Success

  • Strong collaboration with VCS sector to have appropriate wide-ranging offer.
  • Strong communication to enable engagement from schools.
  • Central point of contact.
  • Flexible and responsive VCS sector for presented needs.

How is the Project Sustainable

The fundamental approaches from this project are now being implemented through our established Learning Behaviour Leads.

Next steps to do something similar yourself

Read the EEF Guidance Report on Social and Emotional Learning here

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