January 19th 2018
This weekend marks one year since the opening of Cobham Hall’s Wellbeing Centre. Although officially opened by the Mayor of Gravesham on 1st March, the Centre opened its doors to pupils on 20th January 2017.
The Wellbeing Centre was a step forward in the development of Cobham Hall’s Pastoral Care and Wellbeing provision. Led by Housemistress Miss Fenice, the Centre followed the establishment of a dedicated Wellbeing extra-curricular programme, which featured Mindfulness sessions, workshops for stress and anxiety, as well as relaxing activities. “I did some research after we started the extra-curricular programme,” Miss Fenice explained. “It seemed like the perfect opportunity to provide a home for the Programme, as well as a space outside of the classroom, where girls could speak to someone if they wanted to – a peer mentor, member of staff, or access details of a counsellor, if they require an independent ear. Our focus is firmly fixed on being proactive: helping our girls to develop the skills needed to deal with the problems that life can throw at them, to develop resilience, and to be able to bounce back.”
In the year since the Centre opened, Miss Fenice has developed a growing interest in Children and Youth Mental Health. From tentatively attending her first conferences as an audience member new to the area, to confidently speaking at such events, Miss Fenice champions Wellbeing both within School and outside. She has also undergone a two-day training course to become a Youth Mental Health First Aider.
She has spoken at several Mental Health TeachMeets, and at Women in Education Conference that celebrated the International Day of the Girl. She is also lined up to speak at several more such events. And it’s not just in person that she’s actively engaged in promoting wellbeing; as a lead in Twitter’s #UKPastoralChat, Miss Fenice arranges monthly online chats on topics around pastoral care.
In addition, in her spare time, she’s been a volunteer consultant for CORC (Child Outcomes Research Consortium), spending time reviewing online training materials, and this year is a Volunteer Policy and Research Advisor for BEAT, the UK’s Eating Disorder Charity, and assisted in reviewing NICE guidelines for treatments.
This year, she has been asked to contribute a chapter to a book about Mental Health and Wellbeing in Schools, and is currently planning fundraising activities for a trip to Mozambique, where she will be helping build a children’s library.