Saturday, 21 October 2017

You're Never Too Young to Talk Mental Health!

I want to tell you all about a fantastic initiative that Corbridge Middle School is taking part in this month. 'You're Never Too Young to Talk Mental Health' is a campaign created by experts at the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families which aims to increase the support offered for pupils' mental health, and Corbridge Middle School will be showing an animation produced by the Centre and discussing mental health and how to listen to friends who are struggling to cope.

Over 50% of mental illnesses start before the age of 14 and 1 in 10 children has a mental health disorder, such as anger issues, depression and anxiety. Schools have such an important role to play in promoting mental health and well-being among young people, and I would like to commend Corbridge Middle School on their participation in this brilliant initiative.

To find out more about the 'You're Never Too Young to Talk Mental Health' campaign, visit

Friday, 20 October 2017

There's so much going on in the lead up to Christmas!

As Christmas gets ever closer, there are lots of exciting events going on in the Hexham area. Here are just a few...

Halloween Party, 28th October, 4pm-6pm, Vallum Farm Tea Room- Fancy dress, games, a trick or treat hunt and a bring your own carved pumpkin competition, get your tickets from the Tea Room at Vallum Farm for this spooky Halloween party!

Charity Health and Fitness Day, 12th November, Newton Community Centre- Take part in a wide variety of fitness sessions with a healthy lunch, all to raise money for Brain Tumour Research. You can do as much or as little as you want- all you have to do is book in advance at

Charity Movie Night, 14th November, Forum Cinema, Hexham, from 7.45pm- The Forum Cinema's screening of Roberto Benigni's 'Life Is Beautiful' will be accompanied by live music from Off the Wall choir, a raffle and a glass of wine which is included in the £10 ticket.

Christmas Market, 18th November, Vallum Farm, 10am-4pm- Get your Christmas shopping done at Vallum's Christmas Market, with a great selection of stalls, street food, mulled wine, children's activities and Santa in his Grotto!

Christmas Craft Afternoon, 11th December, Mowden Hall Nursery, 2pm-3pm- A fun-filled afternoon of Christmas crafts for your children at Mowden Hall- book in advance by emailing

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Staying safe online

Online safety is such an important issue for parents and families, with issues like cyberbullying and online pornography causing huge concern. That is why I am delighted that Facebook has announced a new commitment to offer a digital safety ambassador programme to every secondary school in the UK. The announcement has been made as part of Facebook's wider commitment to keep people safe online, in partnership with the Diana Award and Childnet International, with the aim of promoting online safety in classrooms across the UK. Training will be offered to thousands of pupils in secondary schools trained as Childnet Digital Leaders or Diana Award Anti-bullying Ambassadors over the next two years, extending their existing programmes so that every secondary school will have a dedicated digital safety ambassador- young people trained to provide peer-to-peer support and lead online safety initiatives in the classroom. This is great news and it is fantastic to see organisations like Facebook actively working to improve online safety.

If you are a parent, teacher or young person, here are some of the resources available on Facebook to keep young people safe online-
  • The Safety Centre which has more information on Facebook's safety policies, tools and resources, as well as access to the Bullying Prevention Hub, Parent's Portal and Online Wellbeing Portal
  • The Parent Portal which offers advice to adults on how to ensure children in their care are using Facebook safely and have a positive experience on the platform
  • The Bullying Prevention Hub, launched in partnership with the Yale Centre for Emotional Intelligence, is a resource for young people, parents and educators to seek support and help for issues relating to bullying and other conflicts through specific actions