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Team Mates: “He’s just a totally changed boy”

This week is Children’s Mental Health Week and at Palace for Life Foundation we understand the importance of addressing mental health challenges from a young age. Team Mates, is one of the programmes that we run to aid this.

The innovative Team Mates programme is backed by the Premier League and is run in primary schools across south London, offering children a safe place to share their concerns and build up their self-confidence.

One of those young people is a local 8 year old, who was referred to Team Mates by his teacher because of his disruptive behaviour and angry outbursts.

The pupil explained: “My favourite thing about Team Mates is that it lets me talk about stuff that I don’t really talk about, like if I’m sad or if someone’s passed away, I would explain it and talk about it to people when I wouldn’t before.

“It’s helped me stop getting in fights, stop being nasty, and lets me be who I am and have a positive attitude.”

The pupils teacher at Bandon Hill Meadow Field Primary School, Mrs Rickwood, has noticed a great change in him since the start of the programme:

“He was always fighting and arguing, he was very destructive in the playground and in the classroom he was even worse; he was disruptive and quite dangerous.

“He’s now much better in the playground, he’s calm and collected, you can talk to him and have a conversation. He’s just a totally changed boy, it’s amazing what Team Mates has done for him.”

Learning through play is at the heart of the programme, helping to engage children and make sessions fun and enjoyable.

The Foundation’s Team Mates lead Chase Hill explained: “By creating a safe environment within the school, we work alongside Teaching Assistants and often let children lead the sessions, encouraging them to share and reflect on their own experiences.”

“The children we work with are referred to us for things like anger management, disruptive classroom behaviour, or in some cases they have been victims or witnesses of domestic violence.”

Team Mates has now supported 104 pupils in 13 different schools, but we have a waiting list of even more wanting to join. To help us reach even more young south Londoners, like Freddie, please visit www.palaceforlife.org/get-involved/donate/

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