The first of our Stand Up Speak Out forums took place last week and was organised by The Grange Community Committee. The event looked at a range of different contemporary societal issues including mental health stigma, pollution, poverty and hunger, renewable energy, wellbeing, and climate change. Each subject had a hands on activity that got students thinking and involved with the subject matter.

The aim of the event was for students to engage with the local community and give back in a service capacity, spreading awareness of different societal issues prevalent in contemporary society.
In one activity, students had a range of items such as water bottles, chewing gum, poly pockets and cans which they had to match with the time period it took for them to break down. This came as somewhat of a shock to the students and opened their eyes to the real need to reduce our waste.
The students also created an organic ‘community’ piece of artwork which they all contributed to, drawing pictures and writing words of things that depicted strength, togetherness and hope in their communities.

The mental health activity asked pupils to anonymously write on a Post-it note about how they were feeling, and stick it on a line which ranged from good to poor mental health as to where they thought they were. This was a great activity which got students thinking about how they are feeling; it also opened up lots of really positive thoughts and discussions about how we need to talk more openly about mental health.

In the future, The Grange are hoping to invite students from across all parts of TS and also the villagers of Kingston St Mary to participate in Stand Up Speak Out forums and inspire other students, teachers and members of the wider community to open up their minds to many of today’s societal issues through honest and open forums and interactive activities.