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Changing Lives producing all new Welcome Packs with young people in Derbyshire

Compass Changing Lives Welcome Pack for Children and Young People

Published on: March 26, 2024

Compass Changing Lives have been working with groups of children and young people in Derby and Derbyshire to produce two brand new Welcome Packs.

Soon, when a child or young person accesses mental health support through Compass Changing Lives, they will be sent one of two Welcome Packs that have been developed for their age group.  This booklet will contain information and activities that introduce the young person to key mental and emotional health concepts, lets them know what to expect from the service, and eases them into the kinds of work they’ll be doing with Compass Changing Lives.

This initiative came as a response to finding out that one of the biggest barriers against young people accessing Mental Health support was a lack of information, particularly after being added to a waiting list. The idea of an introductory welcome booklet was devised as a means to provide that information and make waiting for the service less intimidating.

Mel Johnson, Equalities and Engagement Practitioner for Compass Changing Lives, led the initiative, and ensured that young people were involved in the creation of the welcome pack from the start. 94 children and young people between the ages of 7 and 23 from 8 schools and community groups provided ideas and gave suggestions on what should go in the finished booklet. An effort was made to ensure that the children working on the project represented the breadth and diversity of Derbyshire, and included young people from a wide range of ethnicities and gender expressions.

These young people had no shortage of ideas that they were passionate about. A specialist team of Education Mental health Practitioners, Supervising Practitioners and Team Leaders sorted through these ideas to find a number of common threads, and compiled these into 2 drafts. These were presented for feedback to a group of young people and children that had now increased in size to 137.

The group provided feedback on every aspect of the booklet, from content to design, including in depth feedback on individual pages and the front cover. Feedback included notes to make the booklets more colourful, to make the activities within it more challenging, and to tailor the booklet to make it more age appropriate. Based on that last piece of feedback, the decision was made to make two finished booklets: one for younger children, and one for teenagers and young adults.

Tracey Carey-Meyrick, Specialist Team Leader at Compass Changing Lives said:

“Participation is a process where children and young people are listened to and can influence decisions about their lives which may affect them, it has been fabulous to see so many young people engaged, share their ideas and actively listened to”

Mel Johnson spoke along similar lines:

“It was a privilege to give these young people a voice and allow them to create these welcome packs for other young people and to show our passion to become a more CYP led organisation”

When asked about the sessions that led to the creation of the booklet, children that took part gave glowing feedback, specifically mentioning that “sharing ideas” and “creating our own ideas” were among the best parts.

Jayne Bacon, Chief Operating Officer from Chesterfield FC Community Trust, one of the groups involved with the project, had this to say:

“We were delighted to welcome Tracey and Mel from Compass Changing Lives Mental Health Support Team into The Hub at Chesterfield FC Community Trust to meet with young people from our Alternative Provision and The Academy. The workshop delivered during Mental Health Awareness Week allowed young people to share their voice and views”

“The young people were made to feel very comfortable, the session was engaging, fun and they all thoroughly enjoyed the experience. A truly young person led session and we hope the feedback from them will help shape the future of mental health support services in Chesterfield.”

These booklets will soon be available to anybody involved with Compass Changing Lives, both as physical copies and on our website. Everyone involved is looking forward to seeing how they are received by participants in the service.

As Tracey said: “I have had the pleasure of watching this initiative grow over the past few months and look forward to how this is received with the children, young people and their families accessing the service.”


Our Welcome Packs are now available to view and download here.

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