At Willow Dene, one of our Core priorities for 2019-20 is firmly focussed on the school’s wider community responsibility:
To develop Willow Dene as a hub which advocates and models healthier lifestyle choices for families taking into account the complex barriers caused by the social and environmental context within the community.
As part of this Core Priority, we are committed to developing Willow Dene as a parent centre for support, training and resources which encourage healthier lifestyles. Our families feel able to share with us the stresses, pressures and strains on their complex lives and we have talked a lot about commonalities between these about how we as a school can help.
Last week we held our first Parent Well-being Week. During our Well-being Week a group of parents attended a week of workshops and taster sessions which addressed diet, exercise and mental health and well-being. With activities ranging from yoga and personal fitness to cooking and spending time outdoors, we focussed on healthy lifestyle choices and on parents learning skills that they could take away with them and apply to their daily lives. We also considered mindfulness and the importance of parents taking time to look after themselves, so they have space and time to care for their children. Our parent group had a lot of fun as you can see from the photographs. One of our parents commented afterwards ‘Thank you for putting my name down for the wellness week I have absolutely loved every minute of it and left with a group of lovely new friends. just what the doctor ordered. It was so nice and positive for to focus on myself for a change. I feel totally empowered’
Following on from our focus week, our Family Support Advisor and Health Support Advisor are available to work individually with parents to support them in a range of contexts with the aim of empowering parents to address difficult situations, wide-ranging challenges, reduce problems and risks with a range of social and personal issues. These can range from benefit and grant applications to support around domestic abuse, bereavement, isolation and depression, debt or homelessness. We also facilitate a regular coffee morning held at Willow Dene. This is a great opportunity for parents to meet up, chat, and share information and experiences. This coffee morning is called the ‘Speakeasy’. It is held on a Wednesday between 10.30 -11.30am and every parent from the Compass Partnership of Schools is welcome. Throughout the year we invite representatives from different agencies and organisations local and nationwide to join us for a coffee. We hope to see you there!