St John’s College and Whatever It Takes are working together to improve engagement between young people and those with mental health issues in the community. This is helping create engaged and resilient communities. The partnership shows what is possible in a community with limited resources.
For more than six months of the school year, social enterprise students at St John’s attend Whatever It Takes in Hastings three half days per week and are given the opportunity to engage with clients there. These clients are people who exist on the margins of society, and often struggle with mental health. Students write up formal reflections on their return to school. Given the mix of school students and clients, the project is potentially risky. However the partnership has flourished, providing good learning and life opportunities for all involved. Students return to school to share their learnings (respecting privacy) with other students and families. Clients get the benefit of engagement and interaction, in what is often a very isolating experience.