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Eden sixth form students “Share A Smile” for Carlisle Eden Mind

Some of the sixth form students from Ullswater Community College and Queen Elizabeth Grammar School, at their recent meeting showing off the golden RAK tickets

Share a Smile, the Eden sixth form-led mental health project, is preparing for its Random Act of Kindness week, from Monday 13th to Sunday 19th May.

Launched in February, Share a Smile is being driven by a group of 29 sixth form students who are all passionate to make a meaningful difference in the local community on mental health, from Ullswater Community College, Queen Elizabeth Grammar School, Appleby Grammar School and Kirkby Stephen Grammar School. The group is being coordinated by Carlisle Eden Mind.

The golden RAK tickets which will be hidden throughout Penrith, Appleby and Kirkby Stephen

During their Random Acts of Kindness week, over 100 golden “RAK” tickets will be hidden throughout Penrith, Appleby and Kirkby Stephen, waiting for anyone to find them. Some of them will suggest a random act of kindness for the finder to carry out, like donating to charity, paying a compliment to a stranger or making your mum a cuppa. Others contain random acts of kindness given by more than 60 local businesses, there for the finder to receive, like a free coffee and cake for two.

The groups hopes that the golden tickets will show how small acts of kindness really can make a profound impact, and that the event will inspire a movement of kindness and community-spirit throughout Eden. “We are both delighted and touched by the overwhelming response and we have had from local businesses,” said Jacob Reid, who is in Year 12 at Penrith’s Queen Elizabeth Grammar School. “So many of them have been so willing to contribute to what we hope will be, first and foremost, just a really enjoyable week!”

An example of the work the group has been doing in local primary schools. This display board was made in North Lakes. The students each put an idea for a random act of kindness into an envelope, and each day for the next month, a student will pick an envelope and perform the random act of kindness inside!

The sixth form students have also all received Mental Health First Aid-accredited training, and over the past month have enjoyed going into local primary schools- so far Bolton, Appleby, Brough, North Lakes and Alston- to deliver workshops designed to get the students thinking about random acts of kindness. All primary schools in Eden are also being given the group’s Share a Smile resource booklet.

Share a Smile is being funded by Eden Local Committee’s Children and Young People’s Working Group, part of Cumbria County Council. Members of this working group meet regularly to discuss issues relating to children young people in Eden, and following discussions with a range of stakeholders, including Public Health Nurses, Active Cumbria and Carlisle Eden Mind, they wanted to set up and fund this project with the aim of increasing the emotional resilience of children and young people in Eden.

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