Children who end up in custody are three times more likely to have mental health problems than those who do not. Supporting young learners with their mental health and giving them the opportunities needed to help them is an essential part of the rehabilitation of young offenders.
Providing new and innovative ways to support learners
At Novus, we are always looking for new and innovative ways to support our learners which is why through collaboration between the enrichment coordinator, security and Therapy Dogs Nationwide, learners at HMYOI Cookham Wood were visited by a Therapy Dog.
Therapy Dogs Nationwide is a national charity where volunteers take their dogs into establishments such as Prisons, Hospitals and Hospices to provide comfort, distraction and stimulation. The benefits of Animal Assisted Therapies have been studied and results can range from improvement in general health and wellbeing, increased confidence and improved communication skills.
The intent of the visit to HMYOI Cookham Wood was to provide learners the opportunity to reflect and talk about their feelings in a relaxed and supportive environment whilst also enhancing communication skills. Additonally, the learners were given the opportunity to learn about how to care for dogs and how to behave around animals.
On the 14th August 2023, Jamie (dog handler) and therapy dog, Stitch had their first visit at HMYOI Cookham Wood where they both visited several classrooms meeting the learners. The first visit proved very successful with learners being fully engaged in stroking and cuddling Stitch. It was a positive experience for the learners who gave positive feedback about the experience:
I quite enjoyed the dog. It was very calming and therapeutic.
The experience was so positive that HMYOI Cookham Wood are hoping to get Stich to visit on a regular basis.
Read more about Novus' youth provision and how we are helping to support and rehabilitate young offenders.