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Buckfast Abbey helps kids across the country cope with mental wellbeing

October 7, 2021 | News

Online festival launched to help primary school pupils manage mental health.

Buckfast Abbey is readying itself to lift the mood and mental wellbeing of primary school children across the UK with the launch of its largest ever festival to help children cope with the stresses of daily life.

Starting on Monday 11th October, the Take 5 Festival – a virtual event created by the Abbey’s Education Department – builds on the success of last year’s inaugural, week-long event, which saw schools from as far as Cumbria, Yorkshire and Kent getting involved.

This year, the festival – set in the tranquil atmosphere of the Abbey’s grounds – has been extended to two weeks, starting on Monday 11th October and ending on Friday 22nd October.

The festival comes at a key time for school children, having recently returned for the autumn term. For many it has been a hard year, with few unaffected by the impact of Covid, home schooling, bubbles and isolation, leading to a range of anxieties and worries. 

Sharon Lord, Buckfast Abbey’s Wellbeing Project Coordinator, said: “The Take 5 Festival has been designed to equip primary school children with a range of tools to help promote good mental health and wellbeing. It gives schools and children access to a series of fun, practical and engaging workshops that focus on spiritual, emotional and mental health”.

Based around the five actions that promote wellbeing, which are ‘give’, ‘take notice’, ‘learn and create’, ‘be active’, and ‘connect’, the sessions are located within virtual festival tents and encompass a mix of video workshops and resources, providing content and inspiration for classroom activities.

“Children will be encouraged to engage with nature, be given practical tools for those ‘tricky moments’ in life when we all need help to manage our feelings, and will be able to take part in guided reflections, undercover acts of kindness, yoga and Forest Chi for active mindfulness”. 

Sharon Lord added: “By creating the virtual festival, we hope that children from across the UK will be able to benefit from the expertise of our workshop leaders and Wellbeing Practitioners. Through films taken within the beautiful setting of the Abbey and its grounds, the festival has been brought to life giving children the sense of actually being here in our calm and spiritual setting.”

The Take 5 Festival launches only a few days after NHS Digital published a report which shows that 40% of six to 16-year-olds felt that their mental health worsened over the course of its study, which interviewed young people in 2017, 2020 and 2021.

Among the many activities on offer, children can find out about life at the Abbey and its community of monks. They can create their own Labyrinth for mindfulness and even take part in a Q&A session with Brother Daniel, Prior of Buckfast Abbey.

Alison Gagg, Education Manager at Buckfast Abbey, commented: “Last year’s festival was a huge success with thousands of children participating. Teachers told us that they had been totally inspired by the week thanks to the range of resources, which were easy to navigate, high quality, varied, engaging, and age appropriate for their children.

“We hope to play our part in looking after children’s wellbeing across the UK, supporting schools in their provision for children’s spiritual, emotional and general mental health.”

“All schools need to do is book in advance to receive their unique access code which enables them to visit the festival website. They can sign up for a class or the whole school, and they can visit the site as many times as they like over the two weeks.”

In addition to last year’s event, over the past 12 months Buckfast Abbey’ Education Department has continued to provide a series of online workshops for schools and has also provided exciting boxes of resources needed for practical classroom activities linked to St Nicholas Day, Christmas, Easter and Summer Reflections. This is part of the Abbey’s commitment to providing support for schools at key times of celebration and reflection.

To find out more about the Take 5 Festival, visit 

Materials can be accessed from 7th October to help teachers plan their lessons.

A short film on the Take 5 Festival can be found here.