Introduction to activity on referral programme for parents and carers

Activity on referral within schools is a supportive programme that links young people to local activities to support their mental health.

Nicky Harverson

20 Oct 2021

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What is Activity on referral?


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Activity on referral within schools is a supportive programme that links young people to local, community based activities that we know will support their mental health.


Our referral programme is focused on working with Young Minds Matter and Mental Health leads in Gloucestershire's schools. We offer a variety of activities, run by trusted providers' who will support a young person to take part in an activity. These sessions are part of regular clubs and activity programmes with trained coaches delivering fun and inclusive sessions, encouraging friendship and helping promote a positive frame of mind.


Each person referred in will have a conversation, with a member of the the school team, an activity on referral coach and their parents/careers, about their preferred choice of activity and an opportunity to discuss any barriers they have to accessing or starting the programme. Sessions are free for the first 12 weeks but following this the young person can choose to stay with the activity provider and sign up to become a paying member.


Our aim is to facilitate activity to support wellbeing, if at any point this is not being fulfilled for the young person, you can refer back into the school and/or the Young Minds Matter team or to Active Gloucestershire.


Why activity on referral?

Activity is one of the 5 ways to wellbeing and this programme taps into that first and foremost. Yet it is also designed to facilitate two other elements, ‘learn’ and ‘connection’ as we know activity clubs and groups are a good place to do this.


Physical activity can help support a young person to:

  • Connect with likeminded people and make friends
  • Have a space to just play
  • To learn skills that develop not only their physical muscles but also grow their resilient muscles
  • To focus on something other than themselves
  • To learn more about themselves


A young person doesn't need to be active already or even have a focus on being active. The sessions we offer range in intensity and skill with full coaching and instruction given by the activity providers.


Our providers promote activity as a choice not a chore.


How do we support young people?

Each young person with their parent or career will connect with an activity on referral coach and a suitable activity provider. Your coach will support you through the process and is a great place to talk through any concerns or issues you may have about getting started or even continuing with the programme. Your coach is there to navigate the programme and hold you through the process, they are not therapists or councilors. If at any point we feel there is more support required we will talk through the options to refer back into Young Minds Matter.


Activity providers will support the young person by welcoming them to the sessions and providing all the information needed for them to join. They will encourage and support a young person to take part, whilst ensuring there is no judgement or pressure for them to perform in any particular way.


Our activity providers hold a range of qualifications. They can also support young people with mild to moderate mental health issues through experience.


Activity is funded for the first 12 weeks of any programme, after that time it is down to the activity provider to share with the young person and their parent/career their weekly session costs and how to pay.


Bursaries are also available to support parents in buying equipment or clothing in order to attend these sessions.


Confidence in trusted providers

Our providers are based in the community and run an established business or club that supports their work with a range of young people.


We expect providers to have the following in place and without it they are unable to sit on our trusted list. We regularly check these documents are up to date and ensure we visit providers periodically to observe their sessions.


  • UKCC qualified to Level 2 or above, or equivalent activity qualification for the activity you run
  • Valid safeguarding certificate where working with U18 or vulnerable adult groups
  • Evidence of attendance at a First Aid training course within the last 3 years to include basic life support.
  • Insurance cover including public liability (public liability insurance for the activity not less than £5,000,000.00)
  • Enhanced DBS certificate issued within the last 3 years where working with U18 or vulnerable adult groups or the ability to obtain one prior to any referral.
  • Have experience and/or qualification that support working with young people who experience mild to moderate mental health issues
  • Schedule regular sessions that are available for children within the age group we are targeting (at least 30 sessions a year)


We know that not every activity on offer will be the right fit for a young person, so we work closely with them to find what they love to do and encourage them to do more of it.


Please provide any general feedback to your school or to Active Gloucestershire and we can act upon it.


If you feel there is a more specific issue related to safeguarding of a young person then you should follow this process

  • Safeguarding process and link to support parents and careers for any issues


Monitoring and Evaluation

As with all funded programmes we will be monitoring and evaluating the success of the programme. From the process to the impact. We will ask schools, teachers and specialists who refer into the programme and the young people taking part to share their feedback. This will be conducted in a variety of ways and following a set of evaluation guidelines.


You will be asked at the referral stage for permission to share and we will contact you at various times through the programme to help answer a survey or perhaps accept an invitation to a focus group.


Each student taking part in the programme will work through a 'Goals Based Outcome' plan with their activity coach and their provider. This plan is essentially their progress chart, something they can update and add to over the 10 weeks. I have attached a link to this below but it will also be in your email.

  • Goals Based Outcome Review


Useful links for the programme

Below are a few links that can support you as you navigate the programme as well as signposts to what you can do to support yourself.

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Nicky Harverson
20 Oct 2021

Activity On Referral