The sports and arts-based education programme, delivered in partnership between Edge Hill University, Everton in the Community and Tate Liverpool, has been recognised in the ‘community engagement – university sector’ and the ‘mental health and wellbeing’ categories.
Ongoing research and evaluation shows all pupils involved in the programme are displaying increased confidence and less anxiety, with improved literacy and emotional intelligence skills.
Dr Helen O’Keeffe, from the Faculty of Education, and Andy Smith, Professor of Sport and Physical Activity, who lead the project for Edge Hill, said all three partner organisations were delighted by the news.
“This latest success reflects our collective continued commitment to supporting the mental health of young people in our local communities and undertaking cutting edge research which has a demonstrable impact on the lives of young people, their schools and communities.”
Louise Shannon, Head of Programme Delivery at Tate Liverpool, said: “It’s wonderful news that the dedicated work of the Tackling the Blues project has been recognised, not just for the immediate impact on the mental health and wellbeing of its participants but also its wider benefit to the community.
“Tackling the Blues highlights the power of the arts at all levels of education to have a positive influence on people’s lives beyond the gallery walls.”
Jack Mullineux, Tackling the Blues Lead Coordinator at Everton in the Community, said: “Now more than ever, access to sport and physical activity has been vital for children and young people, and Tackling the Blues has been able to demonstrate how these mechanisms – alongside the other activities that the project offers – have achieved really positive outcomes throughout our local community with regards to mental wellbeing.”
Tackling the Blues is an award-winning sport and arts-based education programme – funded by the Office for Students (OfS) and Research England with support from the Premier League Charitable Fund – which supports children and young people aged 6-16 who are experiencing, or are at risk of developing, mental illness.
Since its launch in 2015, Tackling the Blues has made a significant difference to many lives, with participating young people across the Liverpool City Region, Lancashire and now Greater Manchester.
Edge Hill’s Small and Medium Enterprise Productivity & Innovation Centre has also been nominated for an award in recognition of its impactful work supporting local businesses throughout the pandemic and the University has previously won the Educate North University of the Year Award 2021/22.
The Educate North Awards celebrate best practice and excellence in the education sector in the North; the winners will be announced at a ceremony in Manchester on Thursday 7 April.