Jae Whatley, who ran our Year 6 initiative last year, reports
Crucial Crew is a national initiative organised in Hertfordshire to prepare ten-year olds for the journey to secondary school with important messages for that big change and then their on-going lives. All sorts of organisations are involved such as the police, fire brigade, railways, first aid....and SAMS. We are there to try and make the children aware of the importance of emotional health, and we just bring one message: Keeping difficult thoughts in is BAD. Talking to someone you trust is GOOD.
We ask if they’ve heard of us and Childline. Of course they’ve heard of Childline, and not us. So we say we’re like Childline, but for everybody, including children. They get that.
The children are divided into small groups of 10 or so and they move from one scenario - like emotional well-being with us, or safety with the railway team - to the next every 10 minutes. Our scenario has evolved over the years into an interactive game with emojis, an imaginary diary, a balloon and lots of stickers with Velcro. Believe me it is fun for both the kids and volunteers.
Ware supports a number of venues each year. They usually run sessions for two weeks and children from all the surrounding schools come to one centre. There are morning and afternoon sessions, and we need two volunteers needed for each. The twenty or so of us who currently do it saw some 4,500 children last year between us...what's not to like! Obviously we always need more bodies. Considering that we originally got involved six years or so ago at one venue with about eight of us and a very confused message, this has grown massively. It really is appreciated by the schools and if even one of the kids remembers the way to teach them to recall 116 123 and that there is somewhere safe to talk, that is job done! Good luck to Liz, who’s taking over.