No more ‘exam factories’, pledges GM Mayor Burnham at MedEquip4Kids mental health programme launch

Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham has put his full weight behind a programme to rid our learning environment of “exam factories” once and for all.

‘The Hummingbird Project’ consists of applying an eight-week programme to school curriculums with the aim to reduce mental health issues in our youth population.

As MedEquip4Kids celebrated the launch of a project that has been a year and a half in the making, Burnham spoke passionately about the cause.

“There’s a strong kind of sense that schools – and I’m talking about primary schools as well as secondary schools – increasingly over the years have become like tests and exam factories.

“They’re really pushing the pressure on, and not necessarily giving the child support that they may have done in the past: like the career support and the life support that seems to have been squeezed out somewhere along the road.

“They keep voting every year for a curriculum for life when the National Youth parliament meets and that is a call for more council, more support with bullying and all the things that they say are lacking at the moment.

“It’s why this Hummingbird campaign is so right, it’s of the moment. It really is answering a call that is coming from young people.”

The charity was unequivocally pleased to present their new program, in partnership with the University of Bolton, which will start in the next academic year.

The matter is of pressing concern to Burnham, who pledged in his campaign to secure uniformity between mental and physical health services, labelling as “shameful” today’s children’s services.

‘THIS IS 2017’

“I want to see a Greater Manchester where no young person is left behind, where no young person is sleeping on our streets but sadly if you were to go out and wander round, you will find some huddled in the door ways.

“The reality is those young people possibly had some form of mental health challenge when they were growing up, perhaps they were bullied, perhaps they are LGBT and have always felt that they never got the support that they needed.

“Many of them are care-leavers, because of all the challenges that come with that.

“I was sad this week when my own former constituency of Leigh told me that a 31-year-old who was sleeping rough sadly died at the weekend.

“This is 2017, we aren’t in my view doing enough to support young people to become resilient, to help them get their foot on the ladder, get in to a secure job, afford a home.”

The Mayor stayed around at the end of his speech whilst Professor Jerome Carson of the University of Bolton described the project in more detail.

The event inspired proud smiles of hard working volunteers, fundraisers, NHS workers, associated charity members and others as they wandered the room shaking hands with the strangers that contributed to their same cause.

MedEquip4Kids chief executive Ghazala Baig’s daughter told MM how proud she was to have such a head strong women as a mother and that she is in awe of everything that she has achieved.

MedEquip4Kids was founded in 1985 by the parents of a baby who was diagnosed with meningitis and treated and cured in Booth Hall Children’s Hospital in Manchester. The parents were so grateful they began fundraising to support the hospital.

The organisation has accomplished many things in over 30 years, including supplying equipment for hospitals and funding resources for youth mental health services

Image courtesy of MedEquip4Kids via Twitter, with thanks.

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