3 November 2021

An exciting new partnership between Nine Maidens, the CHAOS Group and the Duchy Health Charity will see a new positive wellbeing room created at Wave’s Alternative Provision Academy in Redruth, providing pupils with a space in which they can receive one to one support and feel grounded, calm and safe.

Part of WAVE, which provides education for children, who are not in school for medical reasons or who have been excluded from school, a group of pupils from Nine Maidens have become the first Young Persons Project in Cornwall to be awarded a grant from a scheme set up by the Duchy Health Charity to back for health and wellbeing ideas put forward by young people.

The aim of the scheme, the first of its kind to be set up in England, is to encourage young people to come up with their own ideas for improving health and wellbeing in their local community. With support from the CHAOS Group, tasked to hear young people voices in leading, understanding and identifying health and wellbeing needs in their community, the young people are then invited to pitch their ideas to members of the Duchy Health Charity in the hope of receiving funding to turn their proposals into reality.


“During the past year Laura Curtis and I have been working with staff and pupils from Nine Maidens on developing their idea for a ‘chill room’ at the academy” explained Sonia Bradley from the CHAOS Group. “Nine Maidens has been a brilliant partner in this project from the start, with the academy’s Art teacher Tina Leack, Design Technology teacher Jules Roche, and their Wellbeing lead Ceri Skilton, going above and beyond to present and celebrate each pupil’s ‘voice’.” 

Working predominantly with three pupils, Keedan, Brooklyn and Lily, with creative support from MA Illustration student Rosie Hearne, from the University of Falmouth, the team used a range of creative techniques, including painting brainstorms on windows, emoji, sofas ART (Graffiti), mood boards, models, kinaesthetic experiences, to encourage the young people to share their ideas, to increase understanding of their emotional needs and then to work together to  design options to present to the Charity. 


With the concept for the wellbeing room finalised, Sonia and Laura recognised that, for the pitch to be successful, they needed to ‘celebrate’ the voices of Brooklyn, Keedan and Lily and immerse the Charity Trustees into the pupils’ world so they could see and understand their emotions and passions for the project.

Having chosen art as the best medium for the pitch, pupils from Nine Maidens looked at the work of a number of famous artists for inspiration for creating pieces for their own exhibition. These included

  • Tracy Emin for sexual abuse, domestic abuse and the empowerment of women
  • Otto Dix – for PTSD, physical and mental scars of war
  • Keith Haring – for AIDs’ Awareness, Anti-drugs, Gay Activism
  • JM Basquiat – for poor mental health and drug misuse

Once the pupils were happy with their art work, it was decided to stage a special exhibition to make the pitch.  “We believed that a pitch through personal ‘experience’ rather than just words on paper would help the Trustees gain the most clarity and insight of the pupils’ world” explained Sonia.


“But that meant we needed a stage – and Rebecca at Heartlands provided this” added Laura.  “The venue proved to be the perfect setting by being most accommodating, donating us space and providing delicious cakes and ‘mocktails’ for our Trustees’ private view.”

The Trustees were guided through the exhibition, which contains the work of Nine Maidens pupils aged from 6 to 16 from Redruth, Camborne and Pool, by Keedan, Brooklyn and Lily.  Explaining how the words and images in the first section expressed their trauma, anger, frustration and rowdiness, the youngsters then displayed their vision of a positive wellbeing room - a place where they could be grounded and calm – a place where trusted adults and services could support the young people - a place where all could feel safe.

The pitch ended with the pupils taking part in discussions with the Trustees, answering their questions openly and honestly and with amazing enthusiasm and confidence.

 “The young people understood that they are the ones who know – so it was their voice done in their way” said Sonia.  “To see those young people ‘own’ their room the way they did, bravely sharing their experiences, with poise, in their own language and to a group of adults who they had never met, it was a morning that none of us will ever forget.”

The unusual pitch certainly impressed the Trustees, with members of the Duchy Health grants committee awarding the project the funding needed for the wellbeing room.


“We’re delighted to be working in partnership with the Wave Academy Trust, Nine Maidens academy, and Laura and Sonia from The Chaos Group Cornwall” said Barbara Vann, Duchy Health Charity chair. “We were thrilled with the standard of work the young people had produced and are confident about the project outcomes”.

Staff and pupils at Nine Maidens are very excited at news of the funding and are looking forward to seeing their ‘chill room’ in action.

Wave Chief Executive Rob Gasson is very proud of staff and pupils at Nine Maidens and is looking forward to visiting the new room.  “We work hard to ensure that every pupil at Wave is supported to reach their full potential and it is great to see how the pupils at Nine Maidens have worked together to come up with this fantastic idea and then secure the funding to turn it into reality.  Thank you to CHAOS and the Duchy Health charity and a huge well done to everyone involved in their project”.

The exhibition is live at Heartlands until 5th November and is open for public viewing from 9.30-4pm daily. Robinsons Shaft, Dudnance Ln, Pool, Redruth Tr15 3QY