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Partnership with Activate helps to positively influence young people

Northampton Saints Foundation celebrate a successful partnership with Activate, a group set up by a group of Occupational Therapists and CAMHS clinicians, which has shown to help improve the confidence, self-esteem and anxiety of young people. 

The 6-week bespoke Values programme, based from cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens, worked with young people  aged 14-17 from Activate CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services) to improve their mental health. The programme uses the power of sport and the values of rugby to interlink with Activate's occupational therapy ethos of using meaningful occupation to positively influence mood and functionality, develop their social and problem-solving skills, reflect on their experiences and plan for the future. 

Claire Wailiker, a Specialist Mental Health Practitioner, who set up Activate with colleague Beth Harris said “The idea of the group was to work with young people that have anxiety, low mood, low motivation to help them reintegrate into everyday situations. A lot of them have had past experiences of not being in school or other situations. We identified young people, that sometimes-talking therapies and sitting for a long time talking isn't the best thing for them so actually getting them to integrate with different people, with each other, trying different things, meeting new people, going to new environments, that’s what Activate is all about”. 

The pilot, which took place last year, followed by a second cohort in 2022, has seen young people on the programme make significant progress. As well as the weekly sessions, they enjoyed a stadium tour followed by discussions on mental health topics, ways of coping with anxiety realising they are not alone in their feelings and learning tools to help. 

Liam Welch, Education Lead at Northampton Saints Foundation said "Seeing the positive change in the young people who have taken part in the sessions has been fantastic. We were lucky to have Northampton Saints player Callum Burns and Back Row, Angus Scott-Young join us for Q&A sessions which involved the young people writing their own questions around the values of rugby.  

Throughout the planning stage and delivery of the Activate partnership, we have seen a clear link between the core values of rugby and the work of CAMHS, along with how topics such as anxiety can be seen within the game. Young people on the programme should be proud of the progress they have made and hope they continue to use the tools they have learnt, through both practical and theory based learning within their lives”. 

To find out more about the Values programme please contact Liam Welch.