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News Report Page 7 of 13
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Kyas Ako-parker from Liverpool, wins nationwide competition to be lead voice in new Animated Series about cleaning up our planet

A nationwide competition to find the voice of the lead character for a new animated series has today announced that local School boy, Kyas Ako-parker, from Liverpool, has won the main prize to narrate:- "Clean Our Planet: Energy Of Change."

Kyas, aged 11, along with 5 other children from around the country were selected after a 6 month process that searched across 40,000 families. Run by Clean Planet Energy and partnered by the UK's leading child talent agency Scallywags, participants were asked to create a short video about how they are helping protect the planet.

Bertie Stephens, CEO of Clean Planet Energy said:- "Kyas showed us when he entered the competition that he was already making a number of changes to his life to help clean our planet. From taking the local electric bus to School rather than be driven, using paper bags instead of plastic ones, and stopping his family from using plastic straws, he was a perfect example of the Energy of Change we need to look up to. The purpose of the new animated series is to help both inform and engage people of all ages as to how our lifestyles impacts upon nature. We must take a step back and realise that the current balance between nature and society is untenable, but importantly we must have the courage to make incremental changes so that we can live the life we want, but in harmony with the nature around us."

At just 11 years of age, Kyas, decided to make changes when he saw the devaStation on nature pollution was having:- "I first found out about pollution in the news. It was very upsetting to see lots of animals getting hurt because of our own selfish human deeds. The world definitely needs to change, humans are not the only ones living on this beautiful planet."

Upon finding out about his win, Kyas, who himself is an aspiring cartoon artist, believes the animation can make all the difference to those around him, "I have always loved drawing and making cartoons, so when I found out I got the part, my excitement ROCKETED up to space!!! I like to think that since most young people like cartoons, when they see this one, they could be encouraged to make a change!!!"

The animation is slated to deliver a narrative that will take the audience through the ages, on an arc of discovery. Mixing key messages with entertainment is difficult, but Kyas, along with the other 5 winners were picked as they have an edge to make people of all ages sit up and listen. Stephens concluded:- "If we're going change the world, achieve the seemingly impossible, we'll have to achieve it with those whose future it impacts most, for people and businesses alike we're entering an era of the Clean Planet Economy."

The animated series will go into voice over production this Summer with an initial release date scheduled for Q4 this year. The primary target audience will be School children, but like all good animations the purpose is to bring together the entire family. From the initial entries that reached 40,000 families, 15 finalists were shortlisted by a team of 5 judges. All finalists will receive a certificate, and the winners, in addition to winning the voice over prize, have also been awarded a cash prize of ₤125; the family also receives a set of Clean Planet t-shirts.

Young Minds publishes parent to parent mental health guide

THE UK's leading children and young people's mental health charity, Young Minds, has published a guide sharing advice from parents to other parents on how to support themselves and the young people in their care during the Coronavirus pandemic.

During this difficult time for parents and carers, particularly those looking after children and young people with mental health needs, Young Minds has experienced an increase in traffic to the Coronavirus advice on their website and many calls from parents to their Helpline about the impact of the pandemic on the young people in their care. Its new guide offers strategies and tips drawn from other parents as well as advice on how to look after their own mental health alongside their children's.

In the new guide, the need for parents and carers to talk, listen and reassure children and young people is the top advice for supporting their mental health. Maintaining their daily routine and structure while keeping a level of flexibility is also important, as is limiting children and young people's access to the news so as to avoid too much stress.

In terms of parental mental health, peer to peer advice emphasises the need for parents to practice self kindness. They can do this by ensuring they make time for themselves in the day and not feel guilty about doing so, as well as not judging themselves too harshly when it comes to tackling tasks such as home Schooling. The guide also reminds parents and carers to seek help if they feel they need it by talking to someone they trust about any worries or concerns.

Deirdre Kehoe, Director of Training and Services at Young Minds, commented:- "The last few months have turned the lives of many parents and carers upside down. This is a really difficult time, bringing added anxiety and increased pressure, especially for those looking after children and young people with existing mental health needs. The support available might be much more limited than usual and parents may feel like they're on their own in dealing with their situation. This is why it's important that we all pull together, and share our own tips and advice that might help others out during this difficult time, but it's also important to look after your self too. If you are feeling worried, or anxious, talk to someone you trust who can listen and support you. Alternatively we're here on our Parents Helpline if you need someone to speak to."

Young Minds' dedicated Parents Helpline is the only national service of its kind and is still operating remotely providing free advice and support to parents and carers worried about the mental health of a young person under 25.

Download the guide for parents and carers here or visit the Young Minds online mental health hub for parents:- YoungMinds.Org.UK.

Strawberry Field Steps to Work trainees say:- 'Love is All You Need' and 'We Can Work it Out' as the programme becomes:- 'Steps from Home'

THE Covid-19 pandemic has forced us all to change the way we work and be more creative with our resources. The Strawberry Field Steps to Work programme have responded to this challenge by creating:- 'Steps from Home.'

The Strawberry Field Steps to Work programme reaches out to young adults aged 18 to 25 with learning difficulties or other barriers to employment through a training hub on the lower ground floor of the new Strawberry Field centre, in conjunction with work placements across the City of Liverpool. During the lockdown, keeping the trainees motivated and supported has been key for the Steps to Work team, alongside continuing the sense of belonging they have worked so hard to create.

In the 1st couple of weeks of social distancing, a series of activities were planned including:- virtual exercising, reflective quotes and sharing happy memories. The group proved popular and technology allowed the informal:- 'keeping in touch' to turn into:- 'Steps from Home.' Each day, the trainees are invited to log on to Zoom and spend up to an hour interacting with each other and the Steps to Work team. Session are structured to include wellbeing activities, quizzing:- 'Strawberry Field's got talent' and messages of hope and reflection. So far the team have encouraged trainees to make self soothing boxes, use colouring to be creative, and engage in online lessons on how to draw cartoons. They are encouraged to be themselves and 'Strawberry Field's got talent' has seen entrants playing the piano and trombone, showing how to make tuna pasta and singing songs.

With 4 separate cohorts of trainees:- 'Steps from Home' is allowing trainees the opportunity to socialise together.  The iconic red gates of Strawberry Field opened to the public in 2019 for the very 1st time. The new centre is home to a visitor exhibition, community café, shop, gardens and, at its heart, the 'Steps to Work' programme, which continues the legacy of caring for young people in the local community. All profits from the vibrant visitor experience help fund the Steps to Work programme, with further support for the programme coming through public fundraising activities, volunteering, sponsoring a trainee or the offering of work placements.

Nationally, only between 6% and 7% of working age adults with learning disabilities are in paid employment and opportunities are limited. Steps to Work broaches these obstacles for every young person they work with, supporting them to reach their full potential. For more information on how you can support, visit:-

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