Dame Kelly Holmes Trust: Making a Positive Difference in Schools

The impact of the COVID pandemic followed quickly by the current cost of living crisis and global financial instability sees young people facing some of the most challenging times in living memory and their schools are facing a crippling funding crisis. The COSMO study recently found that almost half (44%) of young people were above the threshold for ‘probable mental ill health’, with poor mental health amongst young people increasing by almost a quarter since 2017*. Savanta’s most recent State of the Youth Nation report shows the cost of living is the most important political issue in young people’s opinion**.

Young people really need support.

Dame Kelly Holmes Trust delivers wellbeing programmes for 11-19 yr olds in schools. Our dedicated world-class athlete mentors work with students to improve confidence and resilience, equipping them with a winning mindset that’s ready to achieve, and providing them with skills and resources to help them navigate their future.

In the 2021/22 academic year our athlete mentors supported more students in more schools than ever before. Our sporting champions worked in 55 schools across the country, supporting 570 young people facing adversity in their lives. At a time when young people’s mental health and wellbeing are being challenged like never before, and good self-esteem being highlighted in a recent study by the Universities of Cambridge and Manchester as an important factor contributing to positive wellbeing***, our programmes have seen results which buck the worrying national trend and see student’s confidence, self-esteem and wellbeing grow.

And we want to do more.

“They are more confident in their own abilities, more understanding of each other and people around them. They worked amazingly as a team.” Teacher commenting on students who attended a Trust schools programme last year.

With the cost of living and energy crisis currently dominating the news agenda, schools as well as students are under more pressure than ever.  A recent survey by the Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) showed that 50% are looking at cutting the number of teachers or teaching hours as they grapple with rising costs, a cut described by the NAHT as catastrophic. These cuts will have huge impacts on students already facing adversity or challenges as cuts would affect mental health support, breakfast clubs and counselling. Pupils in need of extra support would be among those worst affected by cuts, with more than four out of 10 (44%) school leaders planning to reduce spending on targeted interventions for students.

The results of our school-based programmes from the last academic year show that our inspirational athlete mentors have a positive impact on the students they work with. At a time when according to the 2022 Prince’s Trust Youth Index****, the mental health of almost half of young people has declined, participants on our schools programmes saw mental wellbeing increase by more than 5% with confidence, resilience and self-esteem all seeing an increase of  11%. All these changes lead to big improvements in the classroom.

“Attendance improved as well as punctuality in most students. They had much more drive and determination in themselves as they approached exam season.” Teacher commenting on students who attended a Trust schools programme last year.

Teachers reported significant increases in key life skills in their students across all programmes. Motivation increased by 20%, teamwork by 33% and self-confidence by an impressive 43%.

We want to reach more young people, in more schools.

To support this provision we seek charity partnerships that not only benefit young people on the programmes, but are designed with a difference to suit your organisation’s objectives and budget.

Partnering with the Trust enables organisations to deliver powerful social impact with young people and the communities that need us most. Our partnerships offer your organisation the opportunity to change young lives in your local community. Engage with schools or community groups in your area and create a stronger connection for your team with the place where you work, as well as providing young people with life changing access to people and expertise they might never have the opportunity to experience.

Be the Champion in their Corner

To find out more about the programmes we deliver and our partnership offerings, please contact Annie on anniem@damekellyholmestrust.org or visit our partnerships page for more information.

Check out the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust RIA Foundation Member profile here  .