Harpenden Lions Club Life Skills programme supports schools in Harpenden and surrounding areas helping young people develop the skills they need to manage their lives and become responsible members of society.
Life Skills are taught through the schools' Personal, Social and Health Education Curriculum (PSHE) which aims to develop skills and attributes such as resilience, self-esteem, risk-management, teamworking and critical thinking within the context of a healthy lifestyle.
We recently celebrated 30 years of the programme, during which we have donated over £280,000 (approx £9,000 per annum) to our local schools to help them purchase the resources and services they need.
This is partly funded ourselves through events such as the annual Highland Gathering (around 23% over the last 2 years) with the remainder coming from charitable trusts and local businesses who share our commitment to young people and whose loyal support we greatly value.
The beneficiaries of our Life Skills Programme schools in Harpenden and nearby villages of Redbourn, Wheathampstead, Flamstead, Kimpton and Markyate.
The programme in 2022 included four secondary Schools in Harpenden, 19 primary schools, 1 nursery school, 3 schools for children/young people with special educational needs and 1 referral unit. In total approximately 9,000 children and young people benefit from our support.
Lion Brian Edwards describes the history and importance of the programme in the video below.
During the mid-1980s Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) embraced the idea of a comprehensive youth development programme to help children grow in a positive direction, protected from the dangers of drugs and violence.
Based upon the international project the British and Irish Lions clubs became involved in Life Skills education as part of an emphasis on drug education and awareness.
In 1992 Harpenden Lions Club took up the challenge of championing the cause of young people helping to educate them about the risks involved in drug and alcohol abuse. The club purchased and donated curriculum resources to local primary schools because these subjects had become mandatory as part of the then new National Curriculum.
Over the years as the challenges facing children and young people have grown in complexity so the range of topics covered by the PSHE syllabus has widened to address such issues as emotional literacy, relationships and sexual health, resisting peer pressure, violence, gang culture, citizenship and economic wellbeing.
How it works
The best teachers tailor the PSHE curriculum to prioritise specific problems facing youngsters in their own communities. Resources required to engage young people such as interactive technology, theatre group productions and workshops are expensive. This is where Lions can help.
Schools are assessed primarily on academic achievement and as a result Life Skills education, whilst recognised to be of vital importance for young people and society, is under-funded and given limited attention.
Our Life Skills programme makes a great difference by providing funding for schools to buy the resources and services that they would otherwise be unable to afford.
We work closely with Herts for Learning PSHE & Citizenship Adviser, providing funding for her to deliver bespoke training, CPD, workshops and consultancy sessions to our schools.
We understand that there is a well-established correlation between health and educational achievement and provide support for our schools to participate in the Hertfordshire Healthy Schools Programme
Testamonials and examples
Sauncy Wood climbing wall, March 2023
Funded in full for a day by Harpenden Lions
Every class had a 45 minute slot, so each pupil had several turns. Benefits to the children included increased risk taking, greater resilience and confidence building. All were evidenced on the day and the children were clearly having a very rewarding time!
Batford Nursery School June 2022
“Thanks for generous £500 bought books (& storage unit ) with a focus on diversity
Very grateful - additions to library will make a difference for all pupils”
Grove Junior School Sensory Garden, 2022
Eleanor Courquin, PSHE lead at Grove Junior, describes the positive impact this will have on students at the school and shows us around the wonderful new garden!
St Nicholas CE Primary School 2022
£500 toward £1,104 cost Jigsaw Scheme of Work - years 6-8:
Hard-copy folder with teaching resources, jigsaw friend, chime, & Jerrie Cat, and digital teaching materials
A big thank you for enabling full access Jigsaw scheme - works well as each class can use the resources. Themes include bullying and mental health. Can also be used in assemblies.
Just completed great set of lessons on friendship qualities and building resilience in year 3. .. scheme up to date with resources and clips that children really relate to. Thank you again!
Rachel Weldon PHSE lead at St Nicholas
Kimpton Primary School July 2021
Hosted A-Life mental health workshops
"Pupils, staff, & parents very positive, children interacted, will follow up & extend in teaching next year continuing student well-being a priority
Thank you again for your support!"
Roundwood Primary, Dec 2019
£500 toward cost Jigsaw digital whole school PSHE scheme £1925
"Thank you ever so much - we truly are very grateful! I’ve been learning curriculum (very detailed), planning its use across school, including training staff for implementation
It really will make a large difference to children's PSHE education and help teacher workload."
Laura Stevenson, Life Skills lead,
Sauncey Wood Primary School Dec 2015
"Thanks to the Harpenden Lions Club for the generous donation of £500 to pay for the Healthy School day and for supporting us to achieve Healthy Schools status."
Building Futures: Growing pupil empowerment and agency wellbeing conference
Funded 12 local schools attendance
General feedback: particular interest - building self-efficacy for independence and resilience; speakers particularly impressive - inspiring and engaging; great conference with thought provoking content to share with colleagues.