On Tuesday 10 November, pupils from Torre CofE Academy in Torquay were excited to celebrate the grand opening of ‘The Sanctuary’.
Thanks to a grant from the Benefact Trust (formerly the All Churches Trust) and generous donations from families from the school, local businesses and the community, the school has erected a wooden structure to be used as a sanctuary. When pupils and staff are feeling overwhelmed and would like somewhere to go to find peace, this is the place for them.
Gemma Turpin, Specialist Practitioner and EMHP Supervisor, said: "The Mental Health Support Team (MHST) in Schools and Colleges, work collaboratively with the school community, to create a whole school approach to mental health and wellbeing; this is in line with the governments green paper, “Transforming Children and Young People’s Mental Health Provision, 2019.
"Torbay MHST has been live for three years now and the work that the children and staff have done at Torre CofE Academy to support the whole school approach to mentally healthy living is incredible. It’s a joy to work alongside them with a shared vision to improve mental health awareness and promote wellbeing in school and beyond. The Sanctuary is a beautiful example of the work they are doing to create and foster children’s mental wellbeing and develop a culture which is attuned to looking after the mental and emotional health of all."
Torre room activitiesThe structure has been carpeted and furnished with comfortable seating and is equipped with a range of activities to enable those visiting to reflect, have some quiet time, pray (if they have a faith), be still and be mindful. There are pupil leaders supporting this project including Worship Leaders, Mental Health Ambassadors and School Counsellors. They have worked with other professionals including teams from CFHD, who provide counsellors for school pupils who need support with low mood and anxiety.
Torre room openingThe Sanctuary was officially opened by Father Peter March from All Saints’ Church in Torre (the school Parish Priest) with a member of the school’s multi-academy trust - Academies for Character and Excellence (ACE) Board of Trustees, Phillip Mantell, along with Gemma Turpin from the Mental Health Support team in schools who has supported them, and parents who supported the venture.