Dear colleagues, partners, parents and young people,
This will be my final post for HeadStart Wolverhampton as I am leaving the programme on the 31st March.
I have led HeadStart since early in 2014 and it has been quite an adventure! All we had back then was an offer from Big Lottery to apply for funding to be included in the national HeadStart programme, and an awful lot of work to do to pull our thoughts, ideas and proposals together. Of course, this we managed to do, and I am proud to have played my part in securing nearly £11m for Wolverhampton to invest in the resilience and mental wellbeing of our young people aged 10-16.
A programme like HeadStart can never be the work of one person however, and we simply could not have secured the funding, nor made the progress we have without the combined efforts of a lot of people, both within the HeadStart team, within the City of Wolverhampton council as lead partner, and from our partners in the community and other organisations. Plus, very much, the commitment, enthusiasm and determination of hundreds of Wolverhampton’s young people who have guided us, challenged us and ensured that their contribution has steered our direction and decision making.
I am, of course, sad that I won’t be seeing the programme through the remaining three years of Phase 3, but at the same time, I am looking forward to new adventures and the freedom to pick and choose some interesting projects to support. Every leader has to decide when it is the best time to go, and for me, this seemed to be as good as time as any, with the programme at full delivery, led by a strong, energetic leadership team and some very dedicated staff. The programme also has some strong delivery partners, some fabulous young people Ambassadors and HeadStarters who are fully engaged and co-producing with the team, and some very committed parent and community ambassadors all playing their part in helping HeadStart to meet its programme objectives and Big Lottery outcomes.
I have been asked by Big Lottery to stay a friend of HeadStart and I will certainly continue to champion the HeadStart programme and the mental health and mental wellbeing needs of young people. I will continue to be an active observer of the programme and support my colleagues in Wolverhampton or the five other areas as required. There is still so much to do to ensure that young people have a platform to both express their needs and contribute to having their needs met, both across education and health.
I would like to thank all my colleagues, partners, parents and young people for the support you have given me over the past four years, I absolutely could not have done this without you. I wish you every success in the future. I may slow down a little bit now and make a little bit more time for myself and my family, but I am still going to be involved in this work in new ways so please do say hello when our paths cross. I know our young people will always be very keen to let me know what is going well, and not so well!
Very best wishes,