The HeadStart Summer Programme is underway! HeadStart staff and Ambassadors at the Heathfield International day

Heathfield International Day, partly funded by HeadStart through Heathfield Park Community Action Network, was a great success on Saturday 22nd July. The day was designed to bring together local people in the Heath Town area of the city to find out about local services, including HeadStart, and to have lots of fun; dancing, a gospel choir, face painting and more!

Our HeadStart Community Development Coordinator for the Heath Town / Park Village / Eastfield / Springfield / Old Heath area, Elaine Higgins, was joined by HeadStart Ambassadors Christina and Rebecca. They spoke to members of the public, shared details of the HeadStart Summer Programme (and HeadStart more generally), and sought views and ideas on the challenges of mental well-being in young people, and how local services can support them.

The HeadStart team were also delighted to be joined on the stand by The Mayor Of Wolverhampton, Councillor Elias Mattu, and the Mayoress Asha Mattu.

Our HeadStart newshounds for this area of the city, from Park Village Tuition Centre, were on hand to record interviews / vox pops and to take photos of the events of the afternoon.

The weather was kind, despite forecasts that predicted otherwise. A wonderful afternoon was had by all!

Getting Ahead with Year 7 at The Kingswood Trust

On Wednesday 28th June, Year 7 students from local Secondary schools: Colton Hills, Heath Park and Moreton Community joined Learning Technologies and HeadStart staff for a fun-filled day at Kingswood Trust.

Students were mixed up and placed into their teams for the day. The morning started off with team introductions as an opportunity for everyone to get to know each other. Each team was then presented with an envelope and the nominated Team Captain had the role of sharing their challenge for the day ahead …

The Gathering Storm!

Each of the seven teams made their way over to the first activity of the day. Once in position, Team Captains shared their challenge with their peers. On the sound of the first whistle, teams negotiated how to solve the problem, discussing and exploring a range of different strategies along the way. After ten minutes, the whistle sounded again to signal the end of the challenge.

The teams persevered and worked collaboratively throughout each of the seven assigned tasks…some of which involved water, slime and cryptic themed puzzles! Points awarded throughout the morning were based on teamwork, resilience and task completion.

After lunch, the scores from the morning tasks were revealed and points were translated into ‘money’ which resulted in equipment for the next task. Each team had the challenge of building a shelter to withstand The Gathering Storm!

Teams soon gathered and took cover in their shelters while leaders poured buckets of water over each build. Students evaluated their construction and quickly identified strengths and areas for development…many wishing they could have covered all of the gaps in the tarpaulin!

Despite the persistent drizzle throughout the day, it did not dampen the spirits of our young people and the buckets of water and slime only added to the fun and excitement of the day making it a memorable day for all involved.


HeadStart Award at The Digis 2017 celebrates work of young people in HeadStart

(Edited on 30th July 2017 to add photos from the ceremony)

Monday 10th July was The Digis 2017, the amazing annual celebration of digital work from schools and young people organisations across Wolverhampton. The event is organised by HeadStart partner Wolverhampton Learning Technologies Team, and includes an afternoon ceremony for 4 - 7 year olds, and an evening ceremony for 8 - 18 year olds. Hundreds of parents and carers attended the ceremonies to share in the success of their children.

Katie Blakemore and Hannah Rooney, the winners of the HeadStart Award at The DIGIs

As part of the evening celebrations, The Digis 2017 included a special HeadStart Award, celebrating digital work created by young people working alongside HeadStart as part of our HeadStart Ambassadors programme, B-Safe Team, or from schools working alongside our staff. The award was presented by Sunita Pallan-Jhalli, HeadStart Senior Young Person Engagement Coordinator.

Here is the montage video of shortlisted entries for the award:

Award winners from the evening ceremony with The Mayor Of Wolverhampton, Councillor Elias Mattu

Award winners from the evening ceremony with The Mayor Of Wolverhampton, Councillor Elias Mattu

Sunita Pallan-Jhalli, HeadStart Senior Young Person Engagement Coordinator, announcing the winners

Shortlisted students for the HeadStart Award

The HeadStart Award was shared by Hannah Rooney, one of our HeadStart Ambassadors, and by Katie Blakemore from The B-Safe Team. Congratulations to them both. Photos from the awards are online on the Learning Technologies website soon.

We'll post some more pictures once they become available!

Meet Hope, the HeadStart Wolf for 'Wolves in Wolves'

(Updated: 28th June). Here are some more photos of Hope now that she has been varnished in preparation for public show.

Meet ‘Hope’, our HeadStart Wolf for Wolves in Wolves!

Visit  www.wolvesinwolves.co.uk  for more on 'Wolves in Wolves'

Visit www.wolvesinwolves.co.uk for more on 'Wolves in Wolves'

Wolves in Wolves (wolvesinwolves.co.uk) is the largest public art event ever to take place in the city. Thirty wolf sculptures, each designed individually by local organisations, will be placed on display around the city centre and in West Park. We were delighted to be asked to design a HeadStart wolf.

Designing Hope, The HeadStart Wolf

The design process came together by asking our HeadStart Ambassadors, our volunteer group of young people aged 16-25, their thoughts of what the wolf should look like. What should she represent? What should we include?

They came up with several ideas but we decided on one idea that stood out for us. The initial concept for the design was an idea of a tree being the backbone and support of HeadStart. The tree symbolises the growth that HeadStart aims to give to young people and the flowers represent the help for young people to blossom.

HeadStart colours are used to enhance the design with flowers covering the top of the wolf.

Digital interactions are key elements of the HeadStart programme, so the ambassadors were keen to represent these on the design by adding headphones. The HeadStart and Big Lottery logos were added to the design along with a QR code to direct the public to the HeadStart website for more information.

The HeadStart creative team of Alice Whyley and Emma Sayles then went on to develop the ambassador’s idea further to come up with a final concept to present. 

The design also took inspiration from the quote ‘Don’t let the weeds grow around your dreams', which has been written onto the tail of the wolf. This reflects the ideas that some young people have negative influences holding them back, stopping them from being the best they can be.

The wolf design has a gradient from light to dark. Weeds wrap around the dark base of the wolf and gradually develop into flowers, growing more as the design moves from bottom to top. Small elements, including a butterfly and small flowers, can be seen in the bottom dark section of the wolf, symbolising the idea that young people in the most challenging of circumstances are still bright and full of potential, shining despite the darkness that surrounds them. They just need support to work their way to the top. Key words are intertwined over the whole of the wolf’s body. Negative words such as 'anger', 'stress', 'grief' and 'stigma' are at the bottom. Positive words gradually emerge in the design as you climb towards the top: 'resilience', 'hope', 'determination', 'courage', and, of course, 'hope'.

We want Hope the HeadStart Wolf to inspire young people to be resilient and encourage them to not let things in life hold them back from being the best they can be.

Here is the the whole creation process in time-lapsed glory!

Hope the HeadStart Wolf will be on display in The Wulfrun Centre from the 4th July. Look out for the other 29 wolves around the city too!

For more on Wolves in Wolves, please visit the website at www.wolvesinwolves.co.uk

The Making of the HeadStart Wolf - click an image to see full-size


The 'Making Of' Gallery

The HeadStart Mascot Competition Judging and Celebration Event

To mark Mental Health Awareness Month, the HeadStart Schools Team have been running a competition for pupils in HeadStart primary schools to design a new mascot to be used to brand HeadStart activities for primary-age children. Pupils had to design a mascot, and explain how their design reflects the aims of HeadStart in improving the emotional well-being and resilience of young people.

The competition received over 130 entries, and yesterday we brought together children from some of the schools that had participated to a celebration and judging event at one of our HeadStart secondary schools, Moreton Community School.

Pupils from the following schools were able to attend:

  • Bushbury Hill Primary
  • Bantock Primary
  • Trinity CE Primary
  • SS Mary and St. John's Catholic Primary Academy
  • Bilston CE Primary

During the day, the children participated in a wide range of interactive activities, including drama, role-play, and team building games. Activities were led by Dave Hill from Sumo, and members of the wonderful HeadStart Schools Team. We were also pleased to be joined by Felicity from The Big Lottery Fund, and Councillor Claire Darke.

Great feedback!

Great feedback!

During the day, the children also met with the competition judges, to whom they had to explain their design, and how it met the brief of reflecting what HeadStart is all about.

Following a very difficult judging process, our judges - Kevin Pace (Head of Service, HeadStart), Gavin Hawkins (Head of the Learning Technologies Team), Howard Jobber (Public Health) and Tess Radcliffe (Wolverhampton Art Gallery) - chose Maruta's entry from Trinity CE Primary School. Maruta explained eloquently that her entry, called Resifibi, is the perfect mascot because she:

  • Is a hiker, who has stumbled many times trying to get to the top of the mountain.
  • She never, ever gives up. She is very resilient!
  • She learns from her mistakes
Resifibi - the winning entry!

Resifibi - the winning entry!

The day was a great success, with some wonderful feedback from the young people and teachers who attended.

Many thanks to everyone who participated in the competition with us!

Some of the other fantastic entries