Helping to Improve Lives of Vulnerable Youngsters

With financial support from Donations With A Difference, Relate has started delivering a play therapy project at under-resourced primary and secondary school The Orchard School in Canterbury to help vulnerable youngsters access one-to-one talking therapies to improve their future well-being. For these children it’s their last chance at securing an education. They struggle to go to school and have bad behaviour and low attendance.

These pupils often have very troubled home lives, so they are helped with their personal issues to improve their educational engagement and progress. The Relate Counsellor, Chris Harding, subtly shifts the way they cope with events they witness and things that happen to them, so they don't feel powerless. He also works in an interactive way with pupils and blends clinical elements from different approaches to tailor the treatment to each youngster’s needs. Being a male role model also helps the boys in particular (missing their dad) as they feel like they have someone else to look up to, which can foster profound emotional healing.

Wayne Hodsgon, chairman of DWAD, was invited to a presentation in November to better understand the project and meet the team. “I was genuinely humbled by the work Orchard School do,” said Hodgson, “The storyboard Chris Harding talked us through hit home the traumas some children face in their lives; they deserve the best chance possible of turning their lives around.”

DWAD was delighted to award the Orchard School £3,200 towards their total project cost of £12,000. The project will deliver eleven face-to-face sessions with 16 youngsters over the coming year. The aim of the project is for 100% of the pupils to attend all of their classes over the year and over 50% to improve their behaviour & improve academically.