A sport, art and education-based mental health awareness programme developed by Edge Hill University and Everton in the Community has been awarded half a million pounds in recognition of the vital impact it has on the student experience.
The £527K funding boost will ensure the University can expand its successful collaborations with Everton in the Community and further grow arts and well-being activities with Tate Liverpool.
The Office for Students and Research England unveiled the successful bids today and Edge Hill has received the award for demonstrating the benefits the Tackling the Blues project brings to students, graduates and external partners through involvement in knowledge exchange activities.
Dr Helen O’Keeffe, Associate Dean for Edge Hill’s Faculty of Education, said: ‘It’s fantastic news that the Office for Students and Research England sees our work as an example of best practice across the higher education sector.
‘The Tackling the Blues project not only makes an important contribution to the student experience, employability, knowledge exchange and research, but it also makes a vital difference to the children and families we work with in the Liverpool city region that suffer from some of the poorest health and well-being in the country.”
The award-winning Tackling the Blues targets young people aged 6-16 who are experiencing, or are at risk of developing, mental illness, and has already made a significant difference to people’s lives with participants feeling more confident and less anxious, and showing improved literacy and emotional intelligence skills.
Andy Smith, Professor of Sport and Physical Activity at Edge Hill, said: ‘We are proud of our long-standing partnership with Everton in the Community, the charitable arm of Everton Football Club, and more recently with Tate Liverpool, and both partners are hugely committed to this programme.
‘The funding will allow us to expand our activities with them and grow the arts and well-being activities. Crucially, it will enable us to increase students’ engagement in our research and knowledge exchange activities and provide them with unique opportunities to work with our partners to positively impact the lives of our communities.’
Everton in the Community’s Tackling the Blues Coordinator Jack Mulineux said: ‘To be one of the recipients of this funding is great news and it will allow us to continue to work with our long-standing partner Edge Hill University but also create a new and exciting opportunity to work with Tate Liverpool.
‘Not only will this enhance our reach but it will also contribute to the expansion of our provision which will continue to be aligned with improving health-related outcomes using innovative practices such as the arts to promote well-being.’
Director of Tate Liverpool Helen Legg added: ‘We are delighted to have the opportunity to deepen our partnership with Edge Hill University and extend our work on children’s mental health. It’s a transformative opportunity and we are confident that art and creative activity can play a valuable role in improving an individual’s mental health and build their emotional intelligence.’
Since its launch in 2013, Tackling the Blues has engaged more than 1,000 young people weekly in primary schools, secondary schools and community groups.