A Bournemouth charity has helped teenage girls look after their health during the pandemic by running eight-week physical and mental wellbeing online courses specifically designed to encourage students to build their self-esteem, confidence and a happy life.

And now Community Action Network (CAN) is featuring ‘The Shine Project’ in the third Community Heroes in the Spotlight – a monthly initiative in which CAN celebrates local charities for their contribution to the community.

The Shine Project normally runs an eight-week overall health programme within schools but with access to physical schools impacted by the pandemic, the charity has continued to deliver support to girls aged 11-14 when they needed it the most.

Liz Davies, a Shine coordinator since 2013, said: “Obviously mental health in young people is a high-profile concern because of lockdown and we are trying our best to help young people navigate their feelings of isolation and anxiety.”

For the last 13 years, Shine has impacted over 2000 young lives, but its influence has been particularly recognised in these challenging times. Shine project workers have witnessed a steady increase in mental health issues, most specifically in anxiety and depression.

"The extra time and planning required to run The Shine Project online pays off every time the charity receives positive feedback. A recent text from a parent said: “Thank you for running Shine – it’s the only thing my daughter looks forward to each week”.

The eight-week course covers areas including self-acceptance, positive communication, respect, healthy relationships, bullying, management of social media and more. Shine also sends care packages each week to provide the girls with the activities to take part in the online workshops.

The Shine Project is currently delivering six Shine online courses and has a waiting list of schools wanting their courses after the Easter holidays.

Emma Lee, Partnerships Manager at CAN said: “Local charities big and small make a phenomenal contribution to Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole. We estimate about £158 million to the local economy and that’s before we think about the families they help and the lives they change for the better. CAN are here to champion and support them.”

Poppy, aged 14, from Poole High School said: “I felt a thousand times better after completing Shine both mentally and in my own body.” 

For more information, please visit The Shine Project website: shineproject.org.uk/shine-online