‘The Place2Be is for children who are hurt, to come and tell grown ups about their feelings so they don't have to keep it inside them and get upset even more." Suzie aged 9 Life is tough for many children – like nine-year old Luke who was having trouble coping after his dad died; or ten-year-old Mandy whose mum often leaves her on her own; and like four-year-old Rick who gets into trouble acting out the violence he’s seen at home.
The Place2Be is an award-winning charity that works inside UK primary and secondary schools, to help children like these. We provide mental health services which are easily accessible to children, parents and carers. We also deliver training to build the skills of staff in schools and Children’s Centres.
Children are less likely to suffer from serious mental health difficulties in later life if they receive support at an early age. By intervening early, The Place2Be catches children’s problems before they permanently affect academic progress and future potential.
Working inside schools, The Place2Be builds children’s resilience, helping them cope with the mental health and deprivation-related issues that impact their lives. The Place2Be supports parents to become more responsive and available for their children and supports teachers in helping children whose emotional and behavioural problems impede their learning and interfere with the learning of others. We can demonstrate the positive, cost-effective impact we make.
In the last academic year, The Place2Be supported more than 2,800 children in weekly one-to-one counselling. More than 21,700 different children used our self-referral service, The Place2Talk. And more than 9,600 hours were dedicated to working with parents and teaching staff.
Alfie*, a seven-year-old boy, was abused from the age of four by a family friend. His mother didn’t know about this until three years later when she found him one day in his bedroom harming himself. When she asked him what he was doing, he broke down in tears and told his mother of the abuse - how he had felt hurt and frightened. His mother was very distressed and went to her GP and to the Head Teacher. A number of teachers had noticed that Alfie was a rather shy and withdrawn child. He had few friends and showed little interest in his work. They had wondered what lay behind his unhappiness. Following discussions with the school’s Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator and Head teacher, Alfie was seen by a Place2Be Volunteer Counsellor in individual weekly sessions for a year.
At first Alfie was very wary of the Volunteer Counsellor. He seemed afraid to play with any of the play materials available in The Place2Be room. Gradually, he became interested in the toy animals. With these, he began to play out different scenarios in which the young animals were constantly being bullied and hurt by some of the older animals. Through the play therapy, Alfie was able to communicate to the Volunteer Counsellor a great deal of what had happened to him, including his feelings of fear, confusion and despair. As a result, Alfie came to feel less lonely.
By the end of the year, his behaviour changed and he became much more outgoing and confident. His mother said, “Alfie is a different boy. He is happier, chattier, has friends and plays like a normal little boy. He is more settled at school and is coping better.”
*Name has been changed
The support from The Peter Cruddas Foundation means we can provide emotional and therapeutic support to some of the most disadvantaged and vulnerable children and their families across the UK.
For further information please visit www.theplace2be.org.uk