Star visit part of event helping students to feel empowered

Some of the young people who took part in the event with staff from NW Ambulance Services, WWL NHS Foundation Trust and Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service.

Young people from schools across Wigan borough have been learning how to make positive decisions about their lives in and out of the classroom.

The Good Life Choices event included a series of workshops promoting health and wellbeing plus an advice session from a Wigan Warriors star player.

Hosted by Wigan Safeguarding Partnership, the day also saw students take part in specially designed activities about their health, education and social life.

Cabinet member for young people, Coun Jenny Bullen, said: “We want our young people to feel confident, empowered and well informed so that when they are faced with difficult decisions in life, they will make an informed choice.

“The workshops and activities at this event aimed to help them achieve that.”

Inspirational speakers included Warriors full-back Zak Hardaker who described how he had found mental strength to help him during the ups and downs of a successful sporting career.

Meanwhile, Harry Longworth – a young entrepreneur who set up his own his marketing company – shared tips on how he stays focused in a competitive world.

Students also visited a health zone, to learn about how physical activity can help with exam stress and tried a yoga and mindfulness session.

And they got involved in workshops on how to stay safe in the social life zone and met with employers to find out more about future careers in an education zone.

The chill out zone, set up by Papyrus, the charity for the prevention of youth suicide, offered young people space to take a break and speak to advisors if they needed to.

Steven Eastwood, from Wigan Athletic Community Trust, who helped deliver the health workshops, said: “Events like this work because younger people are often keen to learn in practical ways.

“Schools don’t always have the time or resources to run sessions on life skills, but life can be difficult so it’s important to arm young people with knowledge to help them become more resilient and make good choices whenever they can.”

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service volunteer, Sue Abbott, said: “The workshops aren’t about stopping anyone from enjoying themselves, we just want everyone to know how to take care of themselves and each other.”

Students also viewed a live performance of drama Real Voices, by Essential Safeguarding Ltd, produced to raise awareness of exploitation and teenage domestic abuse.

Hindley High School’s Jessica Deakin, 12, said: “Today’s been important because we’ve learned loads through all the different activities and it’s also been good to meet people from all the other schools and connect with them.”