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Local students champion mental health, donating £1000 competition win to the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families

A fantastic group of young people have come together to give back to their community and speak out for causes they believe in, including the work of the Anna Freud National Centre with children and families experiencing mental health difficulties.

Over thirty Year 12 pupils at Queens Park Community School in Brent took part in the First Give programme where they investigated social issues in their community by meeting with local charities, including the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families, to find out about their work.

At a special programme competition to mark the end of the First Give Experience, held at Queens Park Community School last week, the pupils delivered professional presentations about their chosen charity. They flexed their public speaking skills and ideas in the hope to be crowned champions and win grants for their featured charity.

All of the presentations were of outstanding quality and showed true imagination and presence, leaving the judging panel with a tough decision as to which of the 9 teams to award the winning £1,000 prize.

In the end, it was the group who presented on the work of the Anna Freud National Centre and highlighted the prevalence of mental health disorders amongst young people who came away triumphant, thanks to a powerful and creative presentation which included dynamic role play and video.


Estella, Jacob and Freya made up this team, and based their presentation on their experiences when they visited the Anna Freud National Centre offices in Hampstead in February where they met with some of the team, including Youth Participation Officer, Nick Morgan. The group were particularly interested in The Family School and how they can support its move to the new Anna Freud Centre currently in development.

Jenny Ricketts, Fundraising Manager at the Centre said: “The event was fantastic! The students are really passionate about supporting children and families with mental health issues and this money will be extremely welcome in sustaining the work we do.”

Judith Enright, Headteacher at Queens Park said: “Thanks to First Give, students have been able to get out and look beyond their immediate lives and work with communities that are struggling.”

First Give currently operates in 140 schools across Greater London and a further 30 in South Wales, meaning over 30,000 young people will have the opportunity to engage in the programme and over £250,000 will be donated to local charities.

A huge thank you to The Jack Petchey Foundation who offers the funding for young people to take part in the First Give experience and to the knockout performance by what may well be a group of future mental health movers and shakers. Watch this space!