An innovative community mindfulness project has been set up in Wigan to help teenagers focus on the positives amid turbulent times.
Mindfulness – which aims to improve mental health by focusing on your awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts and bodily sensations – is often used as a therapeutic technique.
It is known to enable people to become more productive, reduce stress and anxiety, build confidence, and encourage happiness.
This new mindfulness scheme is being delivered by One Together CIC.
One Together is a community interest company delivering a variety of creative programmes to children, young people and their families, all with the purpose of developing confidence, positivity, enhancing self-esteem and promoting happiness.
Set up over 10 years ago, One Together CIC has developed from its starting point of delivering a wide variety of grass roots community-based projects, to becoming a “respected provider of mindfulness and wellbeing workshops” in the Greater Manchester borough.
The specialist programme involves working with teenagers taking part in sessions using special headsets.
The first part of the course was delivered online via Zoom due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and then a small group of young people were invited to socially-distanced meetings on Saturdays at a local primary school.
Hayley Kearns – a Director of Aspull-based One Together CIC along with Neil West – said: “We’re delivering the project and it’s being commissioned by community group Parents of Aspull.
“Funding for the virtual reality equipment has come from the National Lottery.
“The sessions have been online since lockdown for about eight weeks, but the past two weeks have seen a group of young people meet up in a socially distanced way.”
The group have used special VR Oculus headsets to help them with their mindfulness.
Hayley continued: “The virtual headsets allow for the children to immerse themselves in a virtual world, so they can be sitting by a waterfall, or together in a meeting room with others and helping them build resilience.
“They are able to use their headsets from home during the time on the course [and] it’s a way for them to develop confidence and improve their mental health.
“The feedback from parents has been phenomenal,
“[They] have said how the sessions have helped their children who had become very isolated during lockdown, and have helped them make friends.”
The teen programme is just one of many initiatives hosted by One Together CIC.
As well as a range of other groups tailored towards children, young people and families, Hayley added that the next part of the project will involve helping adults over 60 do the same thing as the children have recently.
Other similar projects will take place in the future too, so keep your eyes peeled.
You can find more information about getting involved in any of these mindfulness initiatives via the One Together CIC website here.