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Burnley Primary Care Networks (PCNs) launch Children’s Resilience Project with Burnley Youth Theatre

16th January 2020

Two local Primary Care Networks (PCNs) have spearheaded a new project to help primary school children learn coping skills and deal with stress. 

Primary care network clinical directors of Burnley East and West, Drs Yas Naheed and James Fleming have teamed up with six primary schools in Burnley and Burnley Youth Theatre to offer Burnley children the chance learn how to manage stress, anxiety and coping skills as well as build confidence and self-esteem.

The project which has been supported by all practices in the two Burnley GP Primary Care Networks will see children from the six schools visiting Burnley Youth Theatre over a 9 week period to learn acting and theatrical skills alongside children from throughout Burnley. In the final week of the course, the children will showcase a performance at the theatre for parents, family and friends.   

The creative arts project came about following a review of the needs of children and young people by local GPs who came together with primary school headteachers and other community leaders who were concerned at the high levels of stress, anxiety and other mental health problems, including the impact of cyber bullying and social media.

Dr Yasara Naheed, GP at Thursby Surgery and the Clinical Director for Burnley East Primary Care Network said:

“Young people currently face a lot of new challenges. We need to make sure that they are equipped with the necessary coping skills to deal with these difficult situations. We knew that we had to help children and young people learn to cope more with what for many is an increasingly complicated and stressful life.  Last year we ran this course and it was such a positive success for the children and the schools, as well as for local GPs, that we decided to do it again, this time on a larger scale to help more children”. 

“Learning about the craft of acting and participating in theatre based learning has been shown to help young people feel confident and participate in group activities as well as build resilience in everyday life. Theatre can also help young people explore issues in a fun, creative and safe way.  Over the 9 weeks, the children will learn about how to manage cyber bullying, internet and social media safety, the importance of healthy lifestyles including emotional wellbeing and resilience. They will also learn about the value of ambition and aspirations”.

Dr James Fleming, Padiham GP and the Clinical Director for Burnley West Primary Care Network said:

“As local GPs we see and hear of the challenges children and young people experience in their day to day lives. It is certainly very difficult for many children and one of the best things we can do as a community is collectively support children to be confident, and more resilient.  Emotional resilience is the ability of an individual to deal with stressful situations. If we can help children and young people to become more resilient they will be better equipped to cope and adapt to the challenges of life without any long term or lasting problems.  Unfortunately in our life, we are always faced with difficult decisions, new experiences and challenges.  Things can and sometimes do go wrong but it is important that we prepare our young people so that they are equipped to deal with these situations.

It is my hope that we can help future generations to be better prepared and more resilient because in the long run, we know that this leads to healthier, happier people”

The schools involved are: Heasandford, Whittlefield, Casterton, Rosewood, Cherry Fold and Reedley Primary Schools.

 

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