Welcome and Introduction

The conference began with a bang, with our HeadStart Ambassadors, Kevin Pace, and Councillor Val Gibson being lead into the auditorium to the sound of Dhol Punjabi drums, played by HeadStart Ambassador, Aarun.

Delegates were welcomed to the conference by Councillor Val Gibson, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, who thanked everyone, including our partner organisations- Event-tronic, the University of Wolverhampton, Young Minds, The Charlie Waller Memorial Trust and Time To Change - and other HeadStart areas - Blackpool, Cornwall, Hull, Kent, and Newham - for their support in the organisation of the conference.

She also placed HeadStart firmly in the context of a city that is going places:

The conference was compèred by three of our wonderful HeadStart Ambassadors - Megan, Hannah and Cristina, who did an amazing job linking the sections of the conference. They were relaxed and engaging - no small feat when presenting to an audience of over 500 people!

The Ambassadors then introduced Fran Turner, our HeadStart Youth Engagement Assistant, and Kevin Pace, Head of Service for HeadStart Wolverhampton, who introduced delegates to HeadStart nationally, and to the model adopted by HeadStart Wolverhampton, including the critical importance of co-production to the HeadStart Wolverhampton model. See below for slides from their presentation.

The Ambassadors then returned to the stage to share Hannah's lovely poem "What HeadStart means to me", before introducing Paul McGee, aka The Sumo Guy, for the first keynote.

Our HeadStart Wolverhampton programme is a key part of that journey, seeking to embed new ways to support young people with their resilience and mental wellbeing through their schools, and community groups. Seeking also to build stronger, more resilient communities in which our young people live.
— Councillor Val Gibson
On behalf of The City Of Wolverhampton Council, I am delighted to welcome you all to the HeadStart Wolverhampton Autumn Conference. The conference today brings together delegates both from within the city and from much further afield: teachers, health and social work professionals, workers from our extraordinary voluntary sector, advisors, local government decision makers, and independent consultants. You all work tirelessly to support young people and to make their lives better. Thank you all for making time in your busy schedules to join us today.
— Councillor Val Gibson

Slides - An introduction to HeadStart Wolverhampton

Gallery (click thumbnail for full-size version)