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Year 2 at KCC's Learning Well Project (2016//17)

Image of Kent County Council's CLMHP Learning Well and Kent Adult Education logo




Image of birds in flight over the sea

Year 2 - Taking flight

Building on from the first phase, in 2016/17 Kent County Council was one of 19 projects randomly allocated to the intervention 'Group C' of the DfE adult education mental health research. We delivered through Kent Adult Education under the Learning Well identity.

We recruited 250 people as research volunteers to join general community learning courses. Last year all our learners identified as having mild to moderate mental health problems. This year, part of the challenge is that course participants needed to be a mixed group of learners between those who self-assessed as having mild to moderate mental health problems and those who did not. 

What's this page about?

Reflecting on year 2 of the research, this page shares our praxis with colleagues who are interested in lessons we learned from the experience, and how this informed and changed our thinking and our subsequent practice. Where better to start than watching Patricia's reflections at the start of year 2 in Turning Challenges into Opportunities - A WMHD 2016 Webinar in conversation with the Luton and Medway project leads. Download slides from their webinar

Use the links below to find out what we learned from year 1 of the project or to view our current offer to research volunteers. 

Meeting the challenge

In year 1, our project partnership closely involved Mind and other mental health support charities. In order to achieve the requirements of Group C, engaging with a mix of people with mild to moderte mental health issues and those without any, we have had to develop a far wider partnership base.

We continues to work with our local volunteering and voluntary interest orgnisations and the local residential probation centre as well as local employers, Children's Centres and school parents' groups. 

Achieving a 50:50 split between learners with and without mild to moderate mental health issues is a potential challenge as it's impossible to find the exact number of people prior to the couse running through IAG sessions or to 'police' at sign-up. However, consultation with KAE managers and partners leads us to believe that will will achieve this if we are mindful of which organisations we engage with. For example, Children's Centre mums groups have been found to have a significant number of members with mental health issues, especially new mums and pregnant women. In order to address this is a group where learners are in a mixed group of those experiencing mild to moderate mental health issues and those who are not, we were requested to run a Massage and Relaxation course. Some interesting findings can be read about here

Partnership Case Studies

USDAW (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) - We engaged with members via an open day where they were free to sign up to various opportunities offered by Community Learning & Skills. These included basic English and Maths and other paid provision by KAE. Learning Well offered BSL (British Sign Language) and Spanish. BSL has proved successful with comments that it's not only been enjoyable but also interesting and has had a significant benefit to learners, increasing their confidence in communication. A deaf co-worker also volunteered to support staff and continue practice. Interestingly, learners naturally fell into an approximate 50:50 split between those experiencing wellbeing issues and those who were not.

Age UK Engaging with older learners gave us another perspective to our community delivery. We were asked to teach a variety of creative skills to give the learners a greater scope for development. The tutor was amazed at the levels of achievement and bowed over by the group' feedback and comments. Click here for a visual summary

We do love feedback

Log in to MHFE to post comments or questions below or use 'find someone' on the networking tab on the MHFE home page to send a direct message Patricia Dillon-Russell (PatriciaDR) - our KCC project manager for this research. 

Where to next?