Published on 20 July 2022

Our #WeWill project thriving on the Norfolk coast

Ormiston Families is delivering its #WeWill project to Ormiston Venture Academy in Gorleston, Great Yarmouth. The #WeWill project is designed to empower the children and young people of Great Yarmouth to support the wellbeing of their peers and make meaningful change in their coastal communities.

The project has been training Wellbeing Ambassadors to lead the Academy in making decisions that support the mental health and wellbeing of their fellow Venture students.

Ormiston Venture Academy’s Mr Cooper spoke of his support for the #WeWill project.

“The Wellbeing Ambassadors trained by the #WeWill programme are an invaluable support,” he said, “Not only giving themselves the skills and confidence to talk to others and support their peers, but also helping our Venture community in giving these students a place to go and discuss any issues they may be having.”

“Our Wellbeing Ambassadors then help students get the support they need from key staff within the academy, or can signpost them to any necessary support agencies.”

“Naomi Swain has been such an amazing support as we implemented the #WeWill project within the academy, and we hope to continue this amazing partnership with Ormiston Families for years to come to ensure we can support not just our students here at Venture, but our wider community, too.”

Meeting every Wednesday lunchtime, Wellbeing Ambassadors offer pupils various activities such as arts and crafts and games at a quiet space that they can also use to chat about anything that may be on their minds.

Naomi Swain, Senior Youth Support Worker on the #WeWill project, said:

“The Venture Wellbeing Ambassadors are a fantastic group of young people who represent their school with enthusiasm and endeavour. Whilst we have provided them with training for their role, they already all have great attitudes of kindness and empathy and go out of their way to make the lives of students better. I wish Wellbeing Ambassadors existed when I was at school – pupils have peers to talk to about their wellbeing and who take the time to support each other”.

The #WeWill Wellbeing Ambassadors recently ran their own guild, which identified aspects of mental health support they felt were most important in their school, inviting speakers in for dedicated sessions on these.

Norfolk and Waveney Mind discussed anxiety and low mood, Embrace tackled resilience and motivation to change negative situations, Norfolk LGBT talked about gender identity and sexuality and NSFT addressed eating disorders.

The Wellbeing Ambassadors have further supported new Venture pupils by taking part in July’s transition days. They have been on hand to answer any questions that the then-Year 6s had, and talking to them about their school. They also assisted in supporting pupils at the August Summer School, taking part in various activities as well as joining new pupils on a Pleasurewood Hills trip.

#WeWill will also host 3 huge Summer Fun Days during the school holidays, involving all 15 schools which they work in across Yarmouth to offer families a free day of fun and wellbeing activities.

The project will continue to run in school in September, with weekly wellbeing activities as well as new and exciting social action projects that will aim to make a change in the local community.

The #iWill Fund that makes #WeWill possible is thanks to the £54 million joint investment from The National Lottery Community Fund and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DMCS) to support young people to access high quality social action opportunities. Ormiston Trust is acting as a match funder and awarding grants on behalf of the #iWill Fund.