£4m for mental health and wellbeing support in colleges

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The Welsh Government has announced that all further education colleges are to benefit from a share of £4m funding for mental health and wellbeing support.

The £4m will increase the capacity of welfare teams in all FE colleges in Wales including recruitment of wellbeing support officers. It will also build on the success of previous Welsh Government funded wellbeing initiatives such as counselling support, early intervention training, recruitment of staff to encourage outdoor activity and projects working with mental health charities.

Coleg Cambria and Grŵp Llandrillo Menai, for example, have used Welsh Government mental health and wellbeing funding to work with Public Health Wales to develop trauma informed practice.

Staff have received training to understand how trauma can affect learners and how to provide appropriate support. The physical environment of the college has been transformed to provide wellbeing hubs which provide a calming environment to promote mindfulness and wellbeing. Information to support mental health and wellbeing is readily available and wellbeing officers are on hand to talk to staff and learners. The trauma informed approach is being rolled out by Public Health Wales to other FE colleges in Wales thanks to this latest funding.

What's more, over 1,200 learners at Coleg Cambria have benefitted from these initiatives and over 800 are currently receiving ongoing support. Since 2020, 11 new staff have been recruited to support the mental health and wellbeing of both staff and learners in the college.

Minister for Education and Welsh Language, Jeremy Miles, said: "It is vital we continue to build on the excellent work taking place in the FE sector to meet the increase in demand for mental health support following the pandemic.

"That’s why I’m announcing this extra funding to build on this existing work and to create new initiatives to support the health and wellbeing of our learners so that they are ready to participate in and benefit from learning. Everyone has the right to a happy education experience."