College teams up with Inspira to host first Mental Health Festival

16th November 2022

Furness College and Inspira are partnering on an initiative to get young people talking about their mental health and seeking ways to improve their own wellbeing.

They will jointly host the first ever Mental Health and Wellbeing Festival at the Channelside campus next week with around 30 employers, charities and organisations.

The festival marks the completion of the students’ Level 1 qualification in Mental Health, which they have achieved alongside their subject studies at Furness College.

The college’s Student Services Manager Sarah Carter has worked with Inspira’s Local Employment and Engagement Coordinator Lauren Jackson to organise the event on Tuesday 22nd November.

She said the festival would give students and staff a chance to celebrate and reflect on their learning this term in a fun way.

“We recognise the importance of supporting our students’ mental health and wanted a way to celebrate the qualification they have achieved,” said Sarah.

“This will also give staff and students an opportunity to see the whole range of organisations out there who can offer advice and support for mental health and ways to keep the mind healthy, including through sport and leisure activities and hobbies.”

Lauren said following the pandemic Inspira had seen a huge decline in young people's mental health.

“We felt that in order to introduce careers advice and guidance, we must first tackle and support their mental wellbeing by offering a wide variety of support mechanisms in order to help them make the right choices for the world of work,” she said.

“To achieve this we created an event where a wide range of local health and wellbeing organisations could come together and show the young people at Furness College that there is support out there. We are looking forward to welcoming the local and national charities amongst other organisations attending the festival.”

Representatives will attend from groups and charities including SAFA, Autism Cumbria, Rusland Horizon Trust, Women’s Community Matters, CADAS, NHS First Step, Dropzone, Mind in Furness and Cancercare.

There will be a spider ball activity run by Barrow Community Sports Trust and kick tennis and boxercise from Barrow Raiders as well as live demonstrations from the college’s hair and beauty team along with a stand run by Ørsted’s community team, which has a dedicated mental health adviser.

The event, which is for college staff and students and is backed by the Students’ Union, will be repeated at Barrow Sixth Form College next month.

Furness College’s Channelside Student President Wilson Hubbold, who is studying Health and Social Care, said:

“Studying the qualification has helped us to understand the different types of mental health conditions. We have been learning how mental health can be unpredictable and everyone needs support from time-to-time. We hope lots of our fellow students will come along to this first festival, speak to the support organisations and continue to seek out ways to manage their wellbeing and that of others.”

Photo caption: (l-R) Inspira’s Lauren Jackson with Students’ Union representatives Robbie Nevinson, Jack Vine, Wilson Hubbold and Furness College’s Sarah Carter.