Growing Minds

Growing Minds is a programme that aims to improve African, Caribbean and mixed heritage children and young people’s emotional health and wellbeing in City & Hackney, during the important transition years from primary to secondary school and adolescence to adulthood. The programme aims to tackle inequalities faced by young people from African Caribbean Heritage (ACH) backgrounds within the mental health system.

Growing Minds is “one service with separate branches” bringing together Off Centre’s therapeutic support for young people with frontline ACH community partners and schools to deliver collaborative, effective and culturally appropriate interventions.

There are three different services, all delivered by voluntary sector organisations in City and Hackney. Below are details of each service, their eligibility and how to access them. You can also read the findings from the evaluation report here.

Counselling and Art Therapy – delivered by Off Centre

This service offers counselling and art therapy to young people from African, Caribbean and mixed heritage (ACH) delivered by professionals from ACH backgrounds.

The service is for young people aged 11 to 25 years old. 

Children, young people, young adults and parents/carers can self-refer or be referred by Children’s and Adult Social Care, CAMHS, a GP, education providers, or the Voluntary and Community Sector. Access the referral form here.

For further information please contact:

Non-violent resistance (aka Tools for the Teenage Years) – delivered by African Community School and Father 2 Father

This programme is specifically for parents from African Caribbean Heritage Community (ACH) whose children (aged 9-18) may be experiencing emotional wellbeing or behavioural challenges at home or at school. The 12 week programme focuses on topics such as de-escalation, parental presence, reconciliation gestures, understanding parent trauma and child trauma. The programme runs within City and Hackney and is offered by two different Community Organisations:

Groups run 4 times a year, you can get in contact with each of the organisations directly to find out when the next group is taking place or find out more information about the sessions. 

Tree of Life in schools – delivered by Peer Leaders from Hackney CVS

The Tree of Life project aims to give space to young people from ACH backgrounds to believe in their own abilities, acknowledge their dreams and talk about difficult experiences in a safe environment.

Tree of Life is a narrative-based intervention developed in South Africa, which uses different parts of a tree as metaphors to represent the different aspects of participants’ lives (find out more here). 

Tree of Life sessions are delivered in Secondary Schools by Peer Leaders (young people from ACH backgrounds) together with Education Mental Health Practitioners, to ensure they are culturally relevant to those participating and use a preventative approach to supporting young people before things get worse. 

Tree of Life is available to all secondary schools in City and Hackney, to access it schools need to express interest by getting in contact with their Education Mental Health Practitioner or CAMHS worker in school.