July 16th 2020

I was honored to be asked to speak about children's mental health during lockdown, and the lasting impact that it could have. 
Also discussed was what parent's can do to support their children with discussing feelings surrounding lockdown and how to reassure children that its OK to feel the way that they do. One way this can be done is through writing down thoughts and feelings in a notebook, or a journal such as The I CAN Journal.
I was privileged to have the opportunity to highlight the increasing amount of children struggling with their mental health, especially with lockdown, and to draw attention to the benefits of journaling.



13th July 2020

Sarah Thompson, Social worker and Counsellor at Yorkshire Children’s Trust said: “The mental health and well-being of children and young adults is of paramount importance to the charity and we work with social workers, teacher and parents to make sure we have positive outcomes for all the children that we support”.
As part of our positive mental health programme, the charity team has starting working in partnership with Narelle Gibbs who has written the ‘I CAN Journal’, a diary for children to express their emotions and focus on positive outlooks in their lives. The journal will be given to each child the charity supports alongside its other therapy and counselling options.
Narelle had this to say; “My daughter has been in and out of hospital over the last year with a complex and rare illness and as a result has been left with damage to both sides of her brain. This is a lot for a young person to process and it meant that she closed down and wouldn’t speak to us about how she was feeling.”
“The I CAN Journal aims to support and develop children into becoming well rounded individuals that can continue to improve their skills, celebrate success and find the joy in the smallest things. The diary is set up to develop a positive mind-set and is an ideal supplement to the positive outcomes that achieved with counselling and play therapies at Yorkshire Children’s Trust.
I am pleased that my diary that I have designed based on personal experience will be used to support many children on their positive mental health journey.”
The team at Yorkshire Children’s Trust would like to thank Narelle for creating such a wonderful journal and are pleased to include it going forward as part of their support sessions.

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June 2020

Business and Law students shone in The Open University’s Student Entrepreneurship Competition 2020 which promotes and rewards promising early stage businesses and ideas.

A diverse cross-section of OU students took part in this annual competition, now in its sixth year, which runs on an OpenLearn Create site every winter. It engages students in extracurricular activity outside their module-based learning with the lure of award funding from the OU’s partnership with Santander Universities.

With £25,000 funding available from Santander Universities and the Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF), there were 20 recipients of a £1,250 grant for a mix of social and commercial ideas. It is hoped the winners will form a supportive network of peers at varying stages of the entrepreneurial journey as some businesses are currently trading and seeking to grow, some need start-up capital and others need to do some proof of concept work.

The eight successful Business School students were Andrew Wood, Floris Schirmer and Yana Parikos (Business Management), Andrew Martin (Leadership and Management), Amdalat Jinadu and Narelle Gibbs (MSc in Human Resource Management), and Gregory Burrows-Delbarry and Jacob Robinson (MBA). Law student Bethany Waters was another recipient, together with two Open Degree students – Hannah Ellis and James Markey.

Narelle Gibbs - The I CAN Journal - One of my children has disabilities and Special Educational Needs which can make communicating with her very difficult. She was my motivation for creating the I CAN Journal. The journal helps to develop a growth mindset to allow children to be the best that they can be, and it is a safe space to write down thoughts and feelings and to reflect on the day.