Wellbeing is a popular buzz word that most of us are aware of. We are constantly encouraged to take care of our wellbeing from articles in the press, social media and even through our own G.P’s. Slowly we are starting to heed this advice through the practice of self care. This may be in the form of exercise, healthy eating, meditation or just time out from our busy lives.
But what about the younger generation? Are we encouraging our children, grandchildren to practice the same level of wellbeing? I have three grown up daughters and two grandchildren and I worry about the impact on their lives of our fast paced world. Peer pressure, social media and ever increasing technology can all have a negative effect on our childrens health. I really feel it is important to nurture the younger generation and help protect them from the adverse effects of the pressures of modern day life.
To highlight this point I would like to share what one school in Harrogate is doing for the pupils there. I was invited along to Harrogate Ladies College with a specific aim of having a look round the new Wellness Centre that was completed and opened in October 2018. This dedicated space will focus on offering activities and facilities for students and staff and their physical and mental wellbeing. Potential activities include yoga, meditation, mindfulness, nutritional advice as well as stress prevention.
Looking round the facilities I was struck immediately by a strong feeling of calm and peacefulness, not usually something you associate with a busy school. The decor and interior design exuded restfulness which is exactly what the school were aiming for. The Wellness Centre also serves as a medical centre providing examination rooms, doctors and nurses facilities and even comfortable bedrooms for pupils to rest when unwell.
The large activity room was beautifully designed with a restful forestscape mural on the wall, with large picture windows providing lots of natural light. Thoughtful detailing had even gone into the soft furnishings with the provision of soft lavender blankets, ideal for yoga or meditation activities. Restful art pictures adorned the walls and a modern well stocked kitchen were the final touches to this thoughtfully designed centre.
In providing this amazing facility for its pupils, the College are keen to continue their passion for wellbeing in the community. Local groups such as baby yoga, NCT (National Childbirth Trust) groups and other community groups are encouraged to utilize the centre. This offering to share the Wellness Centre with the community is to be commended and I was uplifted by the College’s passion to share their good fortune with non College pupils and staff.
Surely this fantastic project should be used as a role model on which to base future wellbeing initiatives for other school / youth groups? Yes, money and investment is needed, but our children’s mental and physical health is so important. I firmly believe that so many social and health problems could be averted with better health care for the younger generation. Instead of trying to fix problems as they occur, surely we should be providing a good basis for life for ALL children? I would love to see Wellbeing Centres like the one at Harrogate Ladies’ College setting up all over the country. A place of haven and peace where youngsters can go to learn about their health, practice good mental health care and discover better ways to cope with the stresses of life.
Until then, I can stand back and admire the wonderful work that Harrogate Ladies’ College have done in providing a unique template for helping improve the health of the younger generation. I would like to thank the lovely staff at the College for showing me the Wellness Centre and for a very inspirational afternoon. Special thanks to Richard Farnan, Director of Wellness, Laura Brookes, Assistant Director Of Wellness and Sarah Bowman, Director Of Admissions and Marketing.