Our mission is to help young people to #Be OK
Who are we?
Elevate Life is a not-for-profit arm of Elevate Eleven Tutoring Services, an organisation of teachers and trained mentors experienced in working with children. Our DBS-checked staff are mostly volunteers and give their time to Elevate Life. Our lead mental health advisor is Dr Phil Moore, co-chair of Kingston NHS Trust and chair of the London Mental Health Clinical Network.
What we do?
We support young people with severe anxiety, mental health issues (self-harm, eating disorders, etc.) and difficulties with socialising, often sent to us by schools, social workers, church groups or concerned parents. We are currently developing resources and training materials to enable others to run similar groups elsewhere in the UK and abroad.
How do we do it?
We run specialist hubs with everything from talking therapies to fun modules (games and film design, cookery, sport, art and Lego® therapy, etc.). We eat together, play games and mentor the young people, providing ongoing care to promote their wellbeing. We teach them strategies to self-manage, problem-solve and learn to relax.
Who we work with?
Currently we work with teenagers in our East Molesey and Chertsey groups and primary school children in Thames Ditton, based at the Junior school. Post Covid-19 this will be opened up to a wider group of children. As of Jan 2021 we are launching new groups at Three Rivers school in Hersham. Mostly our programmes are group based but we offer some 121 support too, helping individual children who are linked to us through organisations such as our local foodbanks or referred to us by schools. We intend to reach a wider group of young people with our ‘Bags for your life’ which contain gifts, activities and coping strategies (please see next page).
Why do we do it?
There is such a need to support vulnerable young people as schools are over-stretched and the NHS is unable to provide help quickly enough, with waiting lists for more than 18 months for counselling through Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).
Helping Young People To #Be OK
In early 2021 we will be publishing our new handbook and resource guide for our programme that helps young people to ‘#BeOK’. This is a ‘how to’ manual instructing on the setting up and delivery of a club (Elevate Hub) for primary and secondary groups, either within school settings or out of school in a ‘youth club’, church or community group type environment. The handbook also covers ways in which young people and their families can be supported individually on a 1-2-1 basis. We run such services locally, delivered by mentors attached to churches, foodbanks and other socially aware organisations.
The #BeOK programme nurtures the struggling young person, building their confidence and self-esteem, helping them blossom into the best that they can be and providing the tools for them to rewrite their stories for a better future.
Our informal and accessible handbook will be available here at nominal cost as a pdf both in its entirety and in sections targeting specific groups. It describes our personal Elevate Life journey, why we do what we do and what we have found out along the way. It’s informal approach, based on our real world experience of working with vulnerable young people, plus powerful and informative sections by written for us by nationally-recognised clinical specialists and mental health experts makes it both accessible and useful. Our aim is to include any additional training needed by creating short videos to make it possible for the programme to be run effectively by a wide range of people and groups.
We want to empower anyone to run an Elevate Life Hub for young people near them but there needs to be a level of accountability when dealing with vulnerable people’s lives, so it is essential for systems and sign-posting to be in place. You need to know how to get additional help when you need it, and where and when you should report to the professionals. We therefore expect to be involved, at least at a distance, to talk to you about any initial setting up of a group and will continue to provide a resource base for all Elevate Life initiatives.
We have now proved the programme over the past few years through, at the time of writing, 6 Elevate Hubs across multiple age groups and in a range of community and school settings, as well as providing 1-2-1 support to a number of especially vulnerable young people. We have seen significant success with young people helped top turn away from suicidal behaviours and self-destructive paths. We have seen ‘school refusers’ get back into mainstream education and parents have told us how they have seen their child ‘smile for the first time in 2 years’. We have benefited from, amongst others, the expertise and support of Professor Belinda Harris from the University of Nottingham and our lead mental health professional, Dr Phil Moore, chair of the London Mental Health Clinical Network. However, our groups are easy to run and do not require specialist knowledge. We can walk you through what is needed and help you get it right. You just need to step out and help transform our young people’s stories.
References from parents:
My son attends HW school and was introduced to Elevate via a meeting held at Hinchley Wood school premises. My son has Aspergers and general anxiety. He desperately was looking to establish friendships that he could nurture and there is no doubt that Elevate has been able to offer this opportunity fully. The venue is perfect, and the staff supportive and structured. My son has been attending for nearly 2 years and loves it. He is able to engage and relax with his peers in a safe structured environment which has helped his self esteem and social skills beyond expectations. There are very little opportunities for ASD teenagers or those other SEN teenagers to be able to relax with others who are in the same boat and to be able to grow and feel like they fit in.
Thankfully Anita has been able to provide such an opportunity which i believe is so desperately required for these wonderful teenagers who are trying not only to navigate the usual adolescent challenges but also in addition trying to fit in and identify with their own tribe as it where. I am very grateful for this opportunity for my son.
Our daughter xxx has been attending Elevate Life Club since it began. xxx is very shy and becomes extremely anxious in social situations. She struggles with her self confidence, personally, and in her abilities. The staff at Elevate are very supportive of her needs and it is one event each week she is really looks forward to and is happy to attend. The club have activities each week, cooking, games and discussions which encourage the young people to interact with each other although, there is never pressure for xxx to join in, just is a kind acceptance of her difficulties. Each session usually ends with a 5 minute mindfulness and or meditation period. The Elevate team are understanding and empathetic. Their engagement with us to find out about xxx and ways to help her have been thoughtful and very helpful. The club is held at the Refresh Centre in East Molesey which is a cheerful and inspiring space for this event.
I would like to convey our support to Elevate Life, this small gathering every week has given our son confidence which in large groups would make him feel insecure and weary about opening up. Our son feels relaxed knowing he is with like minded children who have difficulties when socialising. Our son loves going and looks forward to the biscuits too. He feels he is part of something rather than being on the outside and being excluded.