Photo of Liz Wright and Frederika Roberts

Sometimes changemakers come in pairs! Frederika and Liz, co-founders of schools wellbeing and resilience programme, RWS say:

“We’re on a mission to improve the resilience and emotional wellbeing of pupils so that they can achieve success in all areas of their life. We’re creating change in education to make wellbeing and mental health a priority.

And last but not least, we want to enjoy what we do, deliver great results and work together as the good friends we are, with clear communication and acceptance to provide a financially viable service which enables us to give back.”

Since the launch of the ‘RWS | Resilience Wellbeing Success’ programme in 4 pilot schools in September 2015, RWS has gone from strength to strength.  We’ve presented at two international conferences and are getting bookings from schools all over the UK.”

Who will the initiative help/who has it helped already?

To date, we’ve worked directly with around 2000 children, aged 8-18, in numerous schools. Indirectly, they’ve reached thousands more through the work we have done with teaching assistants, headteachers and senior leaders from schools all over the UK.

From the little girl for whom laughter yoga provided a reduction in her frequent panic attacks, to the teenager who is aiming for the Tokyo Olympics, and the little boy who could never sit still but loved doing a 3-minute meditation, we’re proud to have touched the lives of numerous children, teachers and parents.

They have been inspired by our stories and have been driven to take action after experiencing the powerful positive psychology interventions built into the RWS programme.

What’s worked?

The combination of inspirational stories* that children and adults can relate to, with fun workshop activities and lesson resources that are accessible to all ability levels, has worked particularly well.

Additionally, the spirit of teamwork, both between the two of us, and between us and the schools, has helped the programme work as well as it does.  Our resources are designed to keep teacher workload at a minimum, so that running the programme is fun and easy to do.

* Liz won three Paralympic medals at two Paralympics, and Frederika is the mother of two daughters born with severe heart conditions that have led to them having two cardiac arrests and three open heart surgeries over the years.

What have you learnt? Any challenges?

Schools are facing increasing financial pressures. Whilst we would love to be to do the work we do without charging schools, we do have to earn a living.  The challenge is, therefore, to keep finding innovative ways to deliver our content, to stay at the forefront of relevant research findings, and to have compelling reasons for schools to book us.

We love what we do, though, and we know it makes a difference to people’s lives, so it’s worth it.  We have learnt many lessons, including patience!  We have an amazing network of contacts in the education system. They’re 100% behind us and are happy to offer support and advice, and to refer us to their colleagues.

We have seen relationships flourish over time. That is part of the fun, as we’re getting to meet some fantastic people dedicated to improving young people’s lives. That’s what this is all about, after all.   We’ve also learnt not to shy away from change – change helps us, and our programme, evolve and grow.

What’s next?

We would like to reach 100% of target (we’re currently at 68%) on our ‘giving back’ initiative asap, so we can help a school in need!

And we’re looking at other ways to raise funding. Our workshops are ideal for business teams and we’d love to enable adults of all races, abilities, genders or beliefs to work on their resilience and wellbeing to achieve greater success for their careers or businesses, their personal lives and their communities.

We want to take it a step further still, giving businesses the opportunity not only to bring us in to work with their staff, but to sponsor us to go into schools, too.

We also have a few other innovative ideas up our sleeves to expand on what we’re offering to schools, but until those go ‘live’, we’ll have to keep them under wraps!

What advice, contacts or resources would help you?

We always welcome introductions to school leaders, particularly senior decision-makers in Academy groups.  And of course, we welcome any advice and connections regarding funding, whether this is charitable/grant funding or business funding.

And finally, we love meeting like-minded people who do similar work, so we can exchange thoughts & ideas, and cross-refer, as we all do slightly different things, even if we’re in the same arena.

Why we’re Sharing these Stories

An individual or organisation from each of our five categories will be recognised at our Igniting Inspiration recognition event in November, but we want to publish all relevant stories to spread awareness of all the positive work that goes on in our region!

Do you know a woman in Yorkshire who deserves recognition, or would you like us to feature your story? Then please share it!

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