Supporting Children’s Mental Health through MELVA

Ryder and Muckle LLP have joined forces with Mortal Fools to gift their children’s mental health programme, MELVA, to schools

MELVA, a unique programme supporting children aged 7-11 years with their mental health, has secured backing from Ryder Architecture and law firm, Muckle LLP.

The two businesses have joined forces with award winning theatre, drama, and creative learning company Mortal Fools to support the distribution of their children’s mental health programme, MELVA, by gifting 13 licences between them to schools across the north.  Muckle LLP are gifting five north east schools MELVA as part of their evolving commitment to ESG, while Ryder are gifting eight licences to schools across the north as part of their 70th anniversary celebrations.

MELVA is a creative intervention programme for key stage two children, their teachers, and families, designed in response to the 2017 green paper ‘Transforming children and young people’s mental health provision’ and the national young people’s mental health crisis, which currently sees one in six children aged 5-16 with diagnosable mental health conditions.

Initially established by Mortal Fools as a live touring performance package for north east schools, the MELVA programme has since been developed into a digital resource, making it accessible to thousands of young people across the UK, with 66 schools having benefitted from it so far. The web based creative programme, which is available through annual licences, is designed to be led by teaching staff in schools, taking children through a fun and creative story based programme designed to help them better understand and manage their emotions and mental wellbeing.

Melva Slide Rework

Consisting of animations, a feature film split into episodes, an interactive choose your own adventure game, a toolbox of teacher resources, interactive classroom resources and flexible
delivery structure – the MELVA programme follows the adventures of Melva Mapletree, a young girl who navigates a set of challenges as she learns to recognise, understand and manage her ‘worrits’ – what she calls those niggling worries and concerns that can be difficult for children to identify and deal with.

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The digital resource was particularly beneficial for young people’s mental health during Covid-19, supporting with the isolation caused by lockdowns, and the ongoing post pandemic impact. Many schools have been impacted by increasing demands and shrinking budgets, and support from businesses has never been more critical.

Kiz Crosbie, Mortal Fools CEO and artistic director: “Collaborations with compassionate and civic minded business partners like Muckle LLP and Ryder enables us to remove significant barriers for schools to access this important programme, placing effective mental health resources directly into the hands of the children who need it most. The more businesses like this we work with, the more children we can reach. We would love more businesses to invest in Melva, so we can reach even more young people!”

Richard Wise, partner at Ryder, added “I have two hats to wear when it comes to Mortal Fools. As a partner at Ryder, I cannot praise them enough for what they do. Many of our people have benefitted from the personal and professional development training programmes they deliver. As chair of trustees, I am incredibly proud of the positive impact Mortal Fools has on the lives of the young people they serve. Melva has never been more relevant, it tackles issues of anxiety, confidence and mental health in an imaginative and engaging way and we are delighted to have been able to support the programme as part of our 70th anniversary year.”

Hugh Welch, senior partner from Muckle LLP commented: “We are delighted to have been able to partner with Mortal Fools. We believe that business can and should be a force for good – giving back and sharing our success is central to our values and culture. We know that all actions, big and small, can move the needle in a positive direction. That’s why it’s important for us to be able to support our local community with resources like MELVA, that align with our values of supporting young people, overcoming disadvantage, and improving social mobility.”

Learn more about how businesses can gift the MELVA programme and read more about how we’re supporting the programme in our 70th series.

About Mortal Fools
Mortal Fools is a Northumberland based multi award winning theatre, drama and creative
learning charity using drama and co creation as a practice to support children and young people
make sense of the contemporary world, to develop their youth leadership skills and to support
their mental health and wellbeing.

MELVA is a creative intervention programme for key stage two children, their teachers and
families. It was designed in response to the 2017 green paper ‘Transforming children and young
people’s mental health provision’ and was initially a live performance package. The aim of the
MELVA programme is to use theatre, storytelling and practical activities to:

  • Help young people better understand their worries and anxiety
  • Provide young people, their teachers and their families with child friendly, accessible
    language to talk about and deal with mental health and wellbeing
  • Address mental health stigma by encouraging open conversations between young
    people, their peers, and the adults in their lives about worries and anxieties.

Von Fox Promotions
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