Building resilience
and mental wellbeing for children and young people

Local Learning from HeadStart Kernow

HeadStart Kernow has undertaken local evaluation and reported on the effectiveness of HeadStart interventions, new engagement tools and research methods.

The HeadStart Kernow programme report and Executive Summary provide overviews of the HeadStart Kernow programme (2016-2022) and summaries of learning and impact. This is underpinned by a series of learning reports:

Workforce Development

The HeadStart Kernow Workforce Development workstream aims to increase workforce competence and confidence in supporting children and young people's emotional health and wellbeing. This report outlines the key activities and learning and celebrates the positive impact of the workstream.

Access for children and young people to support when/where they need it

HeadStart Kernow Youth and Community Facilitator provide support to young people aged 10-16 years old with their emotional health and mental wellbeing through 1-to-1 and group sessions. It is delivered for Cornwall by The Learning Partnership for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly (LPCo). 

  • This case study for Public Health England (published on the World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre online portal) describes how the Facilitator service offered a continuation of essential support for young people when face-to-face support suddenly ceased due to Covid-19, the closure of schools and national lockdown.

  • The Summer programme 2020 report describes how the service adapted to the pandemic. Key learning covers: the involvement of young people in adapting the programme; the positive impact of having an agile 'test and learn' approach; the importance of communication; the various collaborative working opportunities; and how the service indirectly benefited greater numbers of young people and their families.

  • The Return to School July 2020 report provides a snapshot of how young people felt about returning to school following the March 2020 national lockdown. It covers: levels of engagement with support services; anxieties around returning to school; feedback from young people on what would make going back to school easier for them.

  • The Facilitator interim report, produced by the HeadStart Kernow Learning Team within Cornwall Council uses case-studies, Outcome Star data and management information to demonstrate the impact of 1-1 youth support.

  • The HeadStart Covid-19 Wellbeing Service Report, produced by LPCo, builds on previous reports and shows the impact of the Facilitator contract during the pandemic period, and the learning that has been drawn from its response to the pandemic and lockdowns.

Embedding children and young people's emotional health and wellbeing across the system

In Cornwall we data-linked the annual Wellbeing Measurement Framework results with locally held data to make improvements to the services we provide to children, young people and their families. We use the WMF data to embed wellbeing across the system. This case-study produced by CORC describes our approach.

Cornwall Council is a partner on the MRC-funded Attune project that develops interdisciplinary research into arts and mental health through participatory arts-based research. This uses data-linked WMF data to inform intervention designs.

Involving children and young people meaningfully

HeadStart Kernow takes a co-production approach to emotional health and wellbeing. Here is some of the learning from the programme:

Cornwall is a partner on the MRC-funded Nothing About Us Without Us project, investigating civic activism as a mental health intervention.

  • This Phase 1 case-study describes the practical challenges of co-researching digitally at the time of the Coronavirus pandemic (summer 2020). It identifies key learning for local authorities and academic institutions who are planning to work in partnership on a co-researching project.
  • This Phase 2 case-study describes how young people with lived experience of disadvantaged developed and designed an intervention for other young people.

In early 2020 HSK worked in collaboration with Falmouth University, Ambitions and Young People Cornwall to test an interactive software programme as an alternative youth engagement method to review the Mental Health for Life website. The report highlights the challenges and opportunities of this software.  

Involving young people who have lived experience of disadvantage in mental health research is vital. This academic paper considers the ethical issues of co-researching: Pavarini, G., Smith, L. M., Shaughnessy, N., Mankee-Williams, A., Thirumalai, J. K., Russell, N., & Bhui, K. (2021, February 23). Ethical Issues in Participatory Arts Methods for Young People with Adverse Childhood Experiences.

Test and Learn from across HeadStart Kernow

The Online Resilience Tool was developed with 1000+ children and young people. It provides professionals with a practical guide to support children navigate the online world.

The Learning Partnership piloted the My Mind Outcome Star, designed for use in early intervention services that aim to prevent the onset or development of mental illness, and to fill the gap before a mental illness is diagnosed. It is useful for measuring and supporting change as it uses person-centred, strengths-based and co-production approaches.

Page last updated: 17 April 2023

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