Agenda item

Ad Astra Projects update (verbal report)

Michelle Cooper, from Ad Astra, will give an update on the Listening Support Group work at Outwood Academy Carlton, and Outwood Academy Shafton, and the Stop Smoking in Schools initiative.


Michelle Cooper from Ad Astra, gave a presentation on the Listening Support Group Work undertaken at Outwood Academy Carlton and Outwood Academy Shafton and on the Stop Smoking in Schools initiative.


In relation to the Listening Project, Michelle outlined why this was such an important project, how the project engaged with young people and what this enabled the project to achieve, the messages it gave to young people about being listened to and appreciated, the work that had continued throughout the pandemic and the issues that had been identified particularly in relation to those under 16 years of age.  She then outlined the feedback which, in summary, indicated that the vast majority of young people felt that their time involved with the project had been beneficial.


Information was then provided about the Smoking Cessation Project which had been developed as the local NHS staff had struggled to engage with young people especially in schools.  The initial pilot programme had proved to be very successful and the staff team had completed the NHS Smoking Cessation Training in the hope that they could increase the capacity of support available to young people.  Later in the year it was hoped to re-start the project in Outwood Academy Shafton, however, before this occurred all staff would have their training reaffirmed to ensure that they were all Covid secure with the methods to be used.  In addition, in the last few months requests had been received from school asking for support for students who wanted to stop smoking and appropriate support had been provided.  This had clearly demonstrated that there was a demand for the service.


The projects were very much welcomed by members of the Area Council.  It was hoped that these could be extended to other schools that children attended within the area attended but the reasons for this not being possible at the moment were noted.


Particular reference was made to the issues relating to mental health and to the increase in demand as a result of the Covid pandemic.  It was noted that differing support was available throughout Barnsley but it was felt that there would be a benefit of having a co-ordinated/unified approach throughout the borough. 


Rachel Payling stated that she was involved in a group which dealt with mental health and well being and she would share information about where help was available.  She reported on the Draft Mental Health Strategy which was currently being prepared and on the possible development of a youth provision at the Lightbox as well as to the provision of support for men.  It was hoped that similar provision could be made in all other towns in the borough.


Arising out of this discussion particular reference was made to the potential issues that may arise following the changes to Universal Credit and the withdrawal of the £20 uplift.


Michelle Cooper referred to a mapping exercise that had been completed which, once all the information was compiled, would identify gaps in provision.  She also pointed out that there were many voluntary organisations that were providing support for young people that were not part of the formal network.


RESOLVED that Ms M Cooper be thanked for attending the meeting, for her presentation and for answering Members questions.