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Awards Spotlight - Change Your Mind, Queen Mary’s Grammar School

Introducing Change Your Mind, Queen Mary’s Grammar School, Health and Wellbeing award winner.

You won an award under the Health and Wellbeing Category, why do you feel you’ve won this award specifically? It is difficult to say why you think you have won an award without sounding like you are blowing your own trumpet. I think that the growth of Change Your Mind in the past four years, from a small-scale project in 2016 to a programme now working with nearly half of Walsall primary schools, strengthening links between secondary pupils and younger children and using peer-to-peer workshops to raise awareness of wellbeing, is something to be celebrated. I really enjoy seeing both the older and younger pupils genuinely enjoying interacting with one another - hopefully we'll encourage more into the teaching profession as a result!

What is your proudest moment from the work you’ve done in your community?

To be honest there have been many highlights from setting up and running the Change Your Mind programme, but the most recent has been the fact that the programme is now being set up in secondary schools across England. I am really proud of the fact that an initiative which started in Walsall is spreading across the country and I make sure I talk about my hometown when I visit other secondary schools to train them.

What is your vision for Walsall in the next five years, especially within your sector? What would need to happen and what support would be needed to make it a reality? We already have a strong partnership with Walsall School Nurses, who run workshops for parents following our pupil sessions and I would like us to link up with other Walsall health organisations and secure their endorsements. We are hoping to work with Dudley & Walsall CAMHS this year, for example. Overall, I just want more people to be proud of our town and treat it kindly, both with their actions (such as not dropping litter!) and their words - Walsall gets criticised a lot, but we have a lot to be grateful for.

Can you share a role model with us and why they inspire you? If I were to choose a local role model, it would be Mike Hawes, who I follow on Facebook. He is out most days collecting litter for hours on end in Walsall and, quite rightly, will not accept anyone criticising the town! He is a role model to me for these reasons. I do think that we give Walsall a hard time, and we all need to champion it with words and deeds, as I said, like Mike does.

What habits/hobbies/activities have you enjoyed doing in lockdown that you will continue? I did do more baking and cooking during lockdown, which is not a natural hobby of mine, but I'm sorry to say that once lockdown ended, so did the homemade food! Ten minutes of yoga in a morning has become a must-do activity for me. It's a wonderful way to start the day, and it is surprising how it sets the whole day up with a positive attitude. I have recently qualified as a teen yoga teacher with the Teen Yoga Foundation, and I am looking forward to encouraging more of my pupils to experience the benefits of a short daily practice for themselves.

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