Empower is a free six month project that aims to improve young people’s mental health using physical activity. Each session is 90 minutes in length and consists of 60 minutes of physical activity, typically in the form of a sport session such as dodgeball, football, basketball, badminton, or dance. Following the physical activity, we complete a 30-minute wellbeing workshop, which is a facilitated conversation between participants, Watford FC Community Sports and Education Trust Coaches and a NESSie psychotherapist.
The aim of Empower is to improve young people’s wellbeing by helping our participants to:
- Manage their emotions and understand their triggers.
- Increase their resilience and protective factors.
- Gain a further support network.
Each session is mixed gender and will have 16 young people aged between 9 and 12 years old.
The project is split into three phases. Each phase scales down in contact time with participants, coinciding with psychotherapeutic approaches and NICE guidelines.
The first 12 weeks is The Development Phase, which is the process of participants understanding and exploring their feelings, triggers, and ways that they can utilise coping strategies within their daily life. The development phase consists of 12 weeks of weekly sessions that are all 90 minutes in length.
The second 12 weeks is The Maintenance Phase, which consists of how the individuals put these learning’s into their everyday practices. The maintenance phase consists of 6 weekly sessions, all 90 minutes in length inclusive of a weekly touch point with the project lead.
The final phase is The Reflection Phase, the reflection phase consists of six weekly sessions. The sessions are focused on the participants reflecting on their moods, emotions and how they have been coping since the last session. Once again, all sessions are 90 minutes in length and there will be opportunities for contact points via technology and work to be completed at home.
Who is Empower for?
Empower is suited for young people between the age of 9–12 years old with a mild to moderate mental health diagnosis or individuals who show poor mental wellbeing. To ensure that the participants are appropriate for Empower, we aim to support individuals who are experiencing poor mental health and wellbeing or have been diagnosed with conditions including:
- Low Mood
- Suicidal Ideation
- Low self-esteem or self confidence
- Bereavement or Grief
- Panic Disorder
The step-down approach is to ensure that we are equipping our participants with healthy coping strategies to manage their emotions and minimise the effect of stressful situations on their mental health and wellbeing.
You can refer a child onto the project by emailing Caoimhe Walker directly or filling in the downloadable referral form and sending this via email.
At Empower we aim to improve the mental wellbeing of young people through physical activity. Our impact is measured by the lives we impact and changes we make.
The work we do does not only impacts young people but their families, siblings and schools. Here are what some of the parents say about their young person being on the project:
“My son is really in enjoying the interaction with the sport coupled with the short talks as a group.”
“They make the child feel safe and happy”
“My son loves it so far and happy to be back to each session, which makes us happy to see him enjoying it. He is working on controlling his emotions and these workshops are what he needs.”
“Thank you so much . I’m so grateful for making my boy so special . I feel like finally got help for him what he really needed. And thank u for being so friendly and helpful”
“I am amazed that a project focused on children’s well-being is completely free. It came at the best possible time for us with two of our children suffering with very low mental health following the pandemic and a poor transition to secondary school”
We look forward to supporting more young people with the project.
We understand supporting parents is a big part of supporting young peoples wellbeing. We have created a range of videos to help support parents with a range of topics at home.
Watford FC CSE Trust asked researchers from the University of Hertfordshire (UH) to evaluate the Empower project. This evaluation aimed to learn about:
- How Empower supports children, young people and their families.
- What makes it easier or more difficult for children and young people to take part in Empower.
- How Empower could develop in the future.
See below links to the report findings:Click here for summary report Click here for full final report