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Our Blog

Additional Needs Wellbeing Day

We had a wonderful time last week at the Additional Needs Wellbeing Day, hosted by The Letchworth Centre for Healthy Living, meeting children with additional needs and their families.

We had an information stall where families could come and meet us and enjoy a chat over coffee.

NESSie also provided two creative workshops, co-facilitated by a dramatherapist and art therapist for any children and family members who wanted to join in.

The morning workshop run by NESSie was ‘Create and Make’, exploring feelings and communication skills through art, music and drama (ages 5-7). We had a great time telling Aesop’s fable of ‘The lion and the Mouse’… and we weren’t the only ones!

The second workshop ‘The Journey’ focused around exploring feelings and communication skills through story and adventure using art and drama (ages 8+).

We received some fantastic feedback from both parents and the children…

” The kids were really engaged and enjoyed it. It was fun!” (parent)

“Everyone was put at ease and all ideas were valued. I liked seeing my son join in and become engaged as he found it difficult this morning” (parent)

Overall a great day was had, where families could meet with specialist therapists, services and a range of agencies. Drinks and a wonderful picnic lunch was provided, and families also had the option to visit the Nourish Wholefood Cafe.

A very warm thank you to the NESSie team who were involved in the planning and who were there on the day…

  • Charlotte Wilmer-Barbrook for planning the first ‘Create and Make’ workshop which was led Sarah Blackford (Dramatherapist) and Harri Nicholas (Art Therapist)
  • Rachel Lambie (Dramatherapist) and Harri Nicholas (Art Therapist) for running ‘The Journey’ workshop
  • Our Children and Young People’s IAPT ASD/LD trainee practitioners, Annette Walker and Sarah Foster
  • Daisy Lambie for support and photography

Thank you also to all the stall holders, The Letchworth Centre for Healthy Living and of course all the families who attended making it such successful day.

DSPL2 Update

We are delighted to be back working with all of the DSPL2 schools for our second academic year!  A big thank you to all the staff who made and make us feel so welcome each time we enter your schools to offer therapy, parent training and staff forums.  Some of our favourite moments have been watching children struggle to access the national curriculum fully; due to their own mental health difficulties and then find relief in using creative arts therapies. After on average 8 sessions, they have gone on to flourish and grow in all aspects of their social, emotional and cognitive development.

The laughter and tears shared in parent trainings has left us humbled and touched to be working with so many families.

Welcome George Fisher to our team!

Welcome George Fisher!

Huge welcome to George Fisher, who will be part of our Secondary Schools Therapy Team. Many of you will know George previously as an autism specialist. 

Fantastic Facts from our last Academic Year!

  • More than 40 members of staff attended supervision forums throughout the year
  • 39 parents attended our training and support forums throughout the year
  • 36 members of staff are now trained in therapeutic interventions to be used within school
  • 31 members of staff attended our training focusing on supporting children with Self Harm
  • 51 received referrals
  • Using SDQs as an Outcome Measure, 100% of the cases showed improvement in their social, emotional and cognitive development
  • During the sessions, the child is encouraged to use the Child Outcome Rating Scale (CORS) to monitor their own wellbeing. Statistics showed that at the end of the Academic year, there was a 100% improvement by the CORS.

Trainings that NESSie offer:

  • Attachment
  • Positive Behaviour Support
  • Brick Therapy
  • A Foundation in Emotional & Mental Health
  • Anxiety & Developing Resilience
  • Anxiety in the Early Years
  • Bereavement and Loss
  • Self Harm Level 1
  • Safeguarding and Risk Assessment
  • LGBT Foundation
  • Assessment and Evaluation

Please let us know which trainings you would be interested in for this Academic Year


Experiential Sessions: Exploring the Creative Arts Therapies For Staff and Parents

Stevenage Coordinators, Art Therapist Harri Nicholas and Drama and Movement Therapist Charlotte Wilmer-Barbrook, hosted two sessions in July for staff and parents on the Creative Arts Therapies.

They received a wonderful turnout for both sessions, engaging 15 parents and 14 staff from education settings from across Stevenage.

To keep up to date with future forums and events please follow us on Facebook and keep an eye on the calendar area of the website.

To find out more information about training’s, events and forums available for your school/education setting, please contact Sarah Blackford: s.blackford@rsat.org.uk

Well done Yoshi Bear!

So with much excitement and in trepidation Yoshi Bear attended his first formal award ceremony!  Nominated for a Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust Leading Lights Award, Yoshi went to the groomers and had a new collar for the grand day.  After sitting patiently with over 200 staff in a very hot room, it was finally the category for Excellent Contributions by A Volunteer.  Names were read out, people held their breath and then we heard third place announced.., second place and finally the winner….YOSHI BEAR!  The room erupted into cheering and applause and we proudly went onto the stage for a certificate for Yoshi and £100 worth of vouchers.  At home Yoshi had steak for tea to celebrate with us all. 

Back at work, he continues to help with patients rehabilitation at Holywell Neurological Rehabilitation Unit.  His visits help improve patients’ moods, adjust to their situation and motivate them in their rehabilitation.  Whilst the patients’ lives may have changed, Yoshi treats them the same regardless of illness or injury.  His love is unconditional.  Well done Yoshi Bear!

NESSie Art Therapist Harri Nicholas run’s the 2019 London Marathon for Team Macmillan!

A blog post from our very own Harri Nicholas:

On Sunday 28th April, I completed the Virgin Money Giving London Marathon 2019 in 6 hours and 11 minutes alongside my husband. It was an amazing experience which was difficult along the way but we had unbelievably brilliant support from family, friends and the crowds! We raised £3405.00 for Macmillan Cancer Support, we were absolutely blown away by everyone’s generosity. It will be a day that will always stay with me and very proud moment to have achieved such a physical and mental challenge. 

Meet Yoshi Bear: our new pets as therapy dog

Meet Yoshi Bear: our new pets as therapy dog

Yoshi Bear

Yoshi Bear is five years old and is a Pets as Therapy Dog.  He lives with Charlotte, our Area Co-ordinator for Stevenage, and loves nothing better than helping children relax, laugh and have fun. 

His sister Darcey and another chocolate cocker spaniel, Teddy, also share a home with him.  Yoshi wears a bell to help Teddy to move around as he is blind.  Yoshi is a real life super hero!  He is the newest staff member of NESSie and is very excited to begin work soon.  

Yoshi Bear has been nominated by the Hertfordshire NHS for A Leading Lights Award for his contribution as a volunteer at the Watford Neurological Rehabilitation Unit.  His sessions have been described as ‘magical’!  We cannot wait to bring his magic to our team.

One of our success stories!

A member of our team has just finished with a child in year 1. They had been excluded from one school, and were unable to be in class at the new school.

This was due to significant behavioural difficulties. The child was  STUC (Significant Trauma, Unmet Need in Crisis). 

Today they ended therapy and were presented with a certificate which will be received in assembly.  They have never been given a certificate in assembly until now! 

They have now successfully integrated back into class full time and are thriving.

NESSie in Stevenage: DSPL2 Spring Term Update

During the Spring term Harri and Charlotte ran two Staff Forums and one Parent Forum.

The Staff forums were very well attended by staff from schools across Stevenage. The themes explored were around staff support, accessing services for children and staff self nurture.

The Parent Forum offered training to provide strategies for children with anxiety. This was so popular that, as a result schools have asked for it to be repeated in the Summer Term.

Currently we are providing 12 pupils with Creative Arts Therapy sessions within their individual schools. Many referrals have been for children who have experienced significant trauma, have not had their needs met and are in crisis.

We have now moved into our brand new office, where there is a state of the art coffee machine which provides the best cappuccinos and hot chocolates!

Meet the School Counsellor at Hitchin Girls School the first Thursday of every month.

NESSie places school counsellors not only to see the young people, but also to support and inform the parents too.

Hitchin Girls School Counsellor Jayne Hale has arranged to have a drop in session once a month for the parents of any of the children at school. 

NESSie’s ethos is not to just helicopter therapy in to individuals. We work with parents and carers, teachers and support staff and those in the wider community. NESSie is not an organisation that is only around for the short haul. We grow and develop as the needs of the area does.