Friday, 17 September 2021

MP praises wellness charity which helps children to be 'happy inside and out'

MP praises wellness charity which helps children to be 'happy inside and out'

HENLEY MP John Howell visited a children’s wellness charity.

Inside Out is based at Checkendon Equestrian Centre and offers primary school children activities designed to increase their confidence and find focus so they are “happy inside and out”.

This year the charity expects to work with 1,500 pupils from 100 schools in Berkshire and Oxfordshire. During Mr Howell’s visit he was joined by youngsters from Hagbourne Primary School in Didcot.

The children’s “magical day out” was split into three parts.

In an indoor mindfulness session led by Sarah Salmon, they were taken through breathing exercises to help them stay calm and learn how to express and accept different feelings.

Then Jude Haste, the charity’s outdoor expert, led the children on a nature session through the woods near the equestrian centre.

For the third part, the children were given a riding lesson and stable management session.

Mr Howell said: “I found it fascinating. The children did a lot of work on mindfulness in the morning. We tried eating in a more relaxed fashion with our eyes closed and when I tasted a strawberry it was much more intense.

“The outdoor session was great fun but there was a serious purpose to it. It gave the children a chance to experience each other in different circumstances.”

Stephanie Weissman, who founded the charity in 2013, said she aimed to provide the children with life skills they could use every day to reduce stress, find focus and increase confidence so they felt better and learned better.

“Happiness fuels success, not the other way around,” she said. “Mental health issues among young children in the UK have become a massive problem and we’re meeting a global call to action to prioritise children’s wellbeing in schools.”

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