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Tackling the Blues shortlisted for North West Coast Research and Innovation Award

Tackling the Blues

Publish date: May 11, 2022

Tackling the Blues mental health programme for children and young people has been shortlisted for a North West Coast Research and Innovation Award.

The prestigious awards mark a variety of work being undertaken in health and care across the region.

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 Tackling Health Inequalities category.

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 shortlisting 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.”

Alison Jones, Programme Manager, Public & Community Learning at Tate Liverpool, said: “These awards are recognition of the positive impact art can have within education and the important role it can play in mental health and wellbeing.”

Jack Mullineux, Tackling the Blues Lead Coordinator at Everton in the Community, said: “We’re delighted to hear that Tackling the Blues has been shortlisted for this award.  

“Improving the mental health of children, young people and their communities is so important and we are extremely proud of the impact Tackling the Blues has had in this area, so it’s fantastic that this has been recognised.”

The news followings hot on the heels of the programme winning the ‘Mental Health and Wellbeing’ award at last month’s Educate North Awards, rewarding its success and impact.

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. The unique cross-sector programme has benefitted the mental health of 2,231 6-16-year-olds and 2,989 university students experiencing some of the poorest health and educational wellbeing nationally. It has engaged over 30 schools and enabled students to secure graduate-level jobs supporting others’ mental health.

The North West Coast Research and Innovation Awards are hosted by the Innovation Agency, NIHR Clinical Research Network North West Coast, and Applied Research Collaboration North West Coast.

BBC North West Tonight presenter Roger Johnson will host the finals ceremony at Edge Hill University on June 23, with the event also to be streamed.