Southern Co-op supports life skills lessons on the Isle of Wight

The society is working with Life Education Wessex & Thames Valley to help improve children’s health and wellbeing

Southern Co-operative is supporting a programme of life skills being offered to school-age children on the Isle of Wight.

Life Education Wessex & Thames Valley is an independent charity that works with children, parents and teachers to improve health and wellbeing, and reduce the risk of drug use. Southern, which has convenience stores and funeral homes across the south of England and the Isle of Wight, initially donated £15,000 to the charity in June to support training for primary school teachers on the Island.

The society has now agreed a three year funding programme. Fifteen schools (with a combined 3,400 students) have signed up and three training sessions have been carried out for teachers. 

The support forms part of the Southern Co-operative’s community engagement programme ‘Love Your Neighbourhood’, which aims to make neighbourhoods greener, healthier, safer and more inclusive.

“Our sister stores in Wessex have been supporting the charity for many years, and can see the effect it has on local children,” said Julia Haynes, store manager at Southern’s Rookley food store. “It has become really prominent in the area and really makes a difference.”

The training provides teachers with a whole-school approach to improving children’s wellbeing and progress, based on the core values of Safety, Caring, Achievement, Resilience and Friendship (SCARF).

It is developed with the knowledge that improving children’s health and wellbeing improves their academic attainment. Teachers will also have access to the online SCARF resources accompanying the workshops, which can be used to help deliver personal, social, health and economic (PHSE) lessons.

Jeanette McPhail, chief executive at Life Education Wessex & Thames Valley, said: “We are very grateful to Southern Co-op for its generous support, which has enabled us to introduce our programmes to the Isle of Wight.

“We look forward to developing our relationship with Southern Co-op and schools on the Island over the next three years, and helping as many local children as possible to make healthy lifestyle choices and stay safe.”