As I’m sure you’ll know – since I’ve been talking about it for weeks! – the team has been working towards the Now and Beyond Festival on Inside Out Day, part of Children’s Mental Health Week 2021. Well, this last Wednesday was February 3rd – the day itself! And what a day it was. I can’t tell you how wonderful it was to see everything that the team at Beyond and Inside Out had been working on all coming together. It was an ambitious event that pulled off fantastically: some highlights of the festival…

  • Katie Piper kicking the day off sharing her own experiences of mental health and her top tips for looking after your emotional wellbeing. One of the things that really resonated with me was Katie suggesting we all have 3 non-negotiables that we ensure happen every day. For her some time alone (she said even 10 minutes in the loo!) was essential as a busy mum. She also talked about exercise. I found this a really good idea and have listed mine as meditation/ breathing, a good walk and connecting with one friend at least once a day. What would yours be?
  • A talk between Joe Sheerer of the Amy Winehouse Foundation and We Are Beyond’s founder Jonny Benjamin MBE, where they discussed Joe’s story of addiction and his path to sobriety. I loved this session’s authenticity and honesty and Joe and the foundation do so much great work in schools. One of Joe’s many pearls of wisdom was to not have contempt before you try something – don’t think ‘this won’t work’, just give it a go. This is sage advice, and something that’s always good to remember!
  • Dame Kelly Holmes leading a workout for children across the nation – and, as it turned out, my very own dad who had popped round to see Archie and ended up joining in with the workout in my kitchen! *We are in a bubble!*
  • A celeb-laden session featuring Katie Thistleton, Dr Radha Modgil and rapper Shocka, among others. #LetsGoBeyond LIVE allowed young people across the country to join in the conversation across social media using the #LetsGoBeyond tag, and was a true coming-together to address teen mental health. Shocka was also on Radio 5 on Thursday speaking about the festival, showing that the momentum is certainly continuing beyond the day itself!

And last but not least, BRAIN BOOST WITH BOW-WOWZA was a rip-roaring success!. Videos and photos rolled in from schools around the country, showing classes making their gratitude boxes, dancing along with Rebecca and Katy, and one even featured a black Labrador watching our very own lead Black Lab Dexter D (aka Archie Archibald)!! I truly felt like Bow-Wowza was reaching the children, which is, after all, what all this is for – so it was a very special day. Off the back of the day, we now have nearly 300 schools signed up to the new Bow-Wowza Wellbeing in Schools Package. So, as you can see, there’s been a lot going on here, and across the whole country too! If you’d like to see any of the sessions from the event, they are all available to view on the Festival site. I hope it brings you joy to know how many lovely people are collaborating to make the world a better place – it certainly does for me. I’ll leave you with my favourite quote of the day, from one of the #LetsGoBeyond LIVE panel members, Ben West:

‘We have to stop just pulling children out of the water, and instead stop them falling in.’