The Place2Be: A better place for Leeds youngsters

Place2Be counsellor with children. PIC: Hugo Glendinning
Place2Be counsellor with children. PIC: Hugo Glendinning
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Susan Press talks to a charity which has been given £120,000 for its work helping vulnerable children in Leeds.

A charity which helps vulnerable children in Leeds has won a £120,000 grant from the government.

The Place2Be, which offers counselling expertise in 10 primary and secondary schools, will use the money from the Department of Health to train more volunteers helping youngsters facing problems with everything fron bullying to learning difficulties and eating disorders.

Since 2008, over 1,400 children have benefitted from one-to-one and group counselling offered by the charity

Regional manager Natalie Johnson said: “Our role is to develop a support mechanism for young people with emotional problems who may exhibit quite difficult behaviour in the classroom because of the challenges they are facing.Sometimes parents may also come into the school because they are struggling at home.

“ It is fantastic to win recognition for the work we do which is needed more than ever because of the way society and family issues have become so much more complex.

“There is a lot more peer pressure on our young people and on their families with many relationships fracturing.

“We can offer a safe place in school where children can talk about their difficulties whatever they are.”

Each school taking part in the project has around four volunteer counsellors, most of whom are studying for formal qualifications.

Place2B also offers subsidised “taster” days which aim to help trained counsellors communicate better with children using means such as music, artwork, or creative play.

The charity’s 15-week Foundation Course, which is run in partnership with the Centre for Psychological Therapies at Leeds Metropolitan University, is seen both as an accredited qualification and a pathway to working with pupils in local schools under supervision. There are currently 46 school-based volunteer counsellors at Beeston Primary School, Clapgate Primary School, Cottingley Primary School, Hugh Gaitskill Primary School, Hunslet Carr Primary School, Ingram Road Primary School, John Smeaton Community College, Middleton Primary School and St Anthony’s Catholic Primary School.

St Anthony’s headteacher Lisa leonard said:” Place2B provides essential support to our most vulnerable children and families.We are delighted their work will continue in our school and many others.”

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