From February to June this year, Tunbridge Wells Museum and Art Gallery hosted the ‘Seasons of Change’ exhibition, to showcase archive materials and tell the story of our charity from the foundations Mr James and Mrs Mary Fegan laid 148 years ago, to our present day work with children and families.
The history was beautifully illustrated with original photographs and documents, taking us on a journey from the first Fegans’ boy, through to children’s homes, farm training camps and child migration schemes that saw some Fegans boys start a new life in Canada. As the Fegans Charity developed, girls were also included, and the children were placed in smaller houses with a greater focus on normal family life.
With the introduction of counselling for children, and then parent support, Fegans Charity has evolved to what it is today. Fegans believes in the family, and provides a safe place for children suffering from abuse or mental health issues, and support for parents, ensuring that we work to keep families together, in an environment in which they thrive.
The ‘Seasons of Change’ Exhibition provided a great opportunity for the Fegans’ team in Tunbridge Wells to develop new initiatives. Since the launch in February Fegans has provided six free parenting events, children’s craft events, six secondary school assemblies, a poetry workshop and the launch of the ‘Headspace’ initiative, a scheme dedicated to encouraging teens to consider their emotional health as an important part of their busy lives.
These pilot events have been a great success, engaging more children and families with positive education around mental health and creating a wider understanding of emotional wellbeing.
- 24, 000 people attended the ‘Seasons of Change’ Exhibition
- 7,000 secondary school children recieved a ‘Headspace’ book
- 80 SENCOs attended the Mental Health Conference
- 378 families engaged in parenting events
- Over 100 people surveyed on mental health concerns
The Mental Health Conference held at the Tunbridge Wells Town Hall, with speakers such as Ian Bauckham CBE and Dr Pookie Knightsmith, was a great success, and we are currently in conversation with the NHS about delivering the conferences across other districts in Kent.
Our ‘Parent Talks’ are also being rolled out across the South East, due to growing demand from schools seeking to assist parents and children in their emotional development.
With these great initiatives Fegans can partner with councils, schools and churches, to reach those in need, and bring industry leaders and professionals together to make a positive change for children and families.
You can buy the ‘Headspace’ book online at fegans.org.uk/headspace for a £5 donation.
To see the results of our Mental Health Survey go to: fegans.org.uk/survey