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Mellow Ready

Mellow Ready is twelve-session group programme, designed to be delivered online or offline, specifically created for young people between the ages of 14 and 18, potential parents of the future. We recognise that enabling young people to make sense of their own experience and how it shapes them will support them to attain and build better relationships.

The groups are facilitated using the principles of trauma-informed practice, attachment theory and the skills and knowledge required to develop increased levels of resilience.

We seek to provide them with the tools to think flexibly, reduce stress and make informed decisions both now and in the future.

The materials are flexible to allow activities to be adapted for your setting. Young people are provided with a Mellow Ready book and pack. Each session lasts around 90 minutes but practitioners can extend or shorten activities as necessary.

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Mellow Ready is delivered in single-gender groups of up to eight participants, online groups are recommended to be six participants or below.

Mellow Ready face to face facilitator training takes place over one day and Online Mellow Ready takes place over two half day sessions.

Mellow & Online Ready create a safe space for young people to:

  • Explore their network of relationships
  • Discover tools to support their mental health including mindfulness
  • Understand their emotions
  • Develop empathy and self-compassion
  • Find out what really matters to them
  • Make informed choices about the future

Young people have amazing strengths and capabilities. They are willing to try new things and are not frightened to take risks and enjoy the moment. They can be passionate about justice and fairness, hugely loyal to their friendship groups and amazingly creative in solving problems.

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However, more than ever they also experience pressure and worry as they transition into adulthood. They are trying to figure out who they are and how they relate to others as well as coping with internal and external messages about how to be and what to do with their lives. Those who have grown up without healthy, loving relationships and influences may be particularly vulnerable to poorer mental health, risk-taking behaviours and as a result, lack the skills to form positive relationships in the future.

Lack of relationship education and poor emotional literacy can also feed into a reduced sense of agency and perceived lack of choice, which can leave young people feeling that they are stuck and unable to break out of the situation they are in. In addition to this evidence shows that having a pregnancy at a young age can contribute to a cycle of poor health and poverty.

Research has shown that preconception health, education and care can help break established cycles before parenthood, thus supporting future families and generational change.

In the context of the COVID-19 lockdown, which saw face-to-face group delivery become impossible, Mellow took the opportunity to revise and adapt the programme to become suitable for online delivery. The content of the single programme is appropriate for both ‘face-to-face’ delivery and ‘facilitated online’ delivery.

Nothing matters to young people more than relationships! As young people are struggling with developing autonomy from their families of origin and developing peer and romantic relationships, they are at a point when Adverse Childhood Experiences can tip them in the wrong direction.  Mellow Ready offers trauma informed relationship based-group support at this pivotal time of brain reorganisation and is great chance to address the growing mental health crisis among young people.

It’s made a massive difference to her…. people here were interested in listening to her, whereas at school nobody’s interested…the people running it they talk to her like a human being….

Mum of Mellow Ready group member

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Mellow Futures

Mellow Futures is an early intervention programme for both Mums and Dads with learning difficulties/disabilities. Mellows Futures aims to create positive, successful relationships between parents and children.

Mellow Futures Aims:

  • Reduce the number of children in need/looked after
  • Improve the physical and emotional outcomes for families with multiple needs
  • Demonstrate effective early intervention for parents with learning difficulties
  • Create opportunities for volunteering
  • Produce a model that can be replicated in local commissioning frameworks
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Mellow Futures

To deliver Mellow Futures groups for parents, practitioners are required to attend a 3-day training.

Practitioners receive a comprehensive pack of manuals, access to materials and resources and continued support through reflective consultation with a senior consultant. The Mellow evaluation team also provide support to help you evaluate your group and collate pre and post evaluation measures.

Parents that are taking in part in Futures groups are assigned a mentor who can provide support in between sessions to reinforce and clarify new knowledge and learning.

For parents, there are three phase-focused components to Mellow Futures:

Antenatal (Bumps) 

  • starts between 20-30 weeks’ gestation. Parent participation takes place for 2 hours a week over 6 weeks.

Babies (0-18months) 

  • Parent participation takes place 1 day a week over a 14-week period

Toddler (18 months – 3 years) 

  • Parent participation takes place 1 day a week over a 14-week period.

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Mellow Ability

Mellow Ability is a 14-week programme which aims to support parents and their children with additional needs to enjoy resilient emotionally thriving family lives. The programme focuses on children aged 4-7 years.

Mellow Ability is based on our original Mellow programme but expands the material, including topics specific to children with additional needs and disability. 

Mellow Ability aims to:

  • Reduce social isolation, 
  • Reduce stress and pressure in family relationships 
  • Improve social and emotional development of children with additional needs/disabilities

We want to help parents to be themselves, accept, understand and be with their children as they are. We encourage parents to have hope and dreams for themselves, as well as supporting them to be proactive in shaping their children’s future.

Mellow Ability was born out of need: it was devised and written by health professionals who are, importantly, also parents of young people with additional support needs (ASN). It combines their professional experience of working with children, parents, families and professionals over several decades with their personal parenting stories. As well as being grounded in the research literature and influenced by their professional practise, Mellow Ability has been shaped by the highs and lows they have experienced with their children; it is about what they would have found helpful when their children were young and they were struggling to know where to turn and how to cope.

Mellow Ability is targeted at parents whose children are about to, or have just started, primary school. This seems to be a significant step in the life of the child and their parents; involving separation, courage and adjustments from everyone. This transition can throw up lots of different feelings for parents – anxiety, joy, sadness, loss – to name but a few. With their children spending longer periods away from them, parents may have more time and not know quite what to do with it! Some parents might feel a bit lost and unsure what to do with themselves whilst others might appreciate the peace and quiet and the freedom (and then feel guilty about it!). Mellow Ability aims to meet people at this juncture in their child’s and their lives, when things might seem a bit up in the air, but when they might also have a little more time just to be; to think, reflect and learn about themselves and their children.

Mellow Ability aims to create safe, supportive spaces for “hard pressed” parents who are often stressed and challenged by loving and caring for their child with ASN. The groups provide opportunities for parents to reflect on their experiences as parents (and people in their own right), with the mixture of emotions often involved, the ups and downs, the messiness, the exhaustion and the fears for the future they might have (amongst other things!). But it is also practical; providing information, and support on topics such as play, communication, safety, sensory issues, enjoying our child’s company, supporting siblings, how to access support and planning for the future.

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Similar to other Mellow programmes, it uses video and strengths-based feedback to help translate ideas into real life and to build confidence and self-esteem. Periodically throughout the programme, there are also opportunities for parents and children to come together as a bigger group, bringing to life the every- day realities of what parents do as well as having fun. Sessions involving the children are scaffolded and supported by practitioners (as well as the other parents in the group) and give everyone a chance to try out new ways of relating to their children and practising what has been learnt.

Parents who have attended the Mellow Ability groups have stated that they benefited from the Ability groups and would like other parents to have the same opportunities to attend that they have had. They highlighted that the groups have helped to reduce their social isolation, stress and feelings of alienation by helping them to build friendships, gain new support networks and to feel optimistic about the future.

‘The friendship and bonds with the other Dads have been great. The information we received was fantastic. I now have a closer relationship with my son and his behaviour has improved.’

Mellow Ability Dad

 

Thank you for an amazing course I have truly benefited from it and feel so much better in myself…You guys have given us so much, not just course stuff, friendship, laughter a few tears and most importantly hope for the future.

Mellow Ability Mum

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Going Mellow

Going Mellow is an attachment and relationship based group intervention programme for parents who have babies and children. Mixtures of reflective and practical techniques are used to allow parents to address their personal challenges and the challenges they face with their children.

Our core face-face Going Mellow training is split into therapeutic personal groups (Mums/Dads) and age defining workshops (Babies/Toddlers). The personal groups are gender specific and the workshops cover children from the ages 0 – 18months and 18 months – 5years. 

The group and workshop run for 14 weeks, one day a week, usually between 10am and 2:30pm. 

Children participate in a children’s group while parents meet together in their group. Over snack/activity time the parents and children eat together and participate in a joint activity. This allows the parent and child to share in fun activities which build and strengthen their relationship. Lunchtime activities are easy and inexpensive as to encourage parents to “HAVE A GO!” at home – putting into practice what they have learned.

In the afternoon the parents participate in workshop where strengths-based video feedback helps them build on their existing skills and practice new ways of relating to their children.

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Mellow Dads

Morning group

Mellow Dads is an attachment and relationship based group intervention for dads who have babies and young children. Similar to Mellow Mums, the Dads programme takes place in the morning whilst the babies/children are cared for in a children’s group

Some practical recommendations prior to delivering a Mellow Dads group:

  • We strongly recommended that groups be run with at least one male facilitator
  • We recommend that you do not mix mums and dads personal group sessions.
  • We recommend you to explore the possibility of mixing mums and dads during lunch time activities and video workshops in the afternoon.
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Mellow Mums

Morning Group

Mellow Mums is the personal group for mums which takes place in the morning whilst their babies/children are cared for in a children’s group. 

During this time, mums explore their own childhood and current experiences, helping them to reflect and consider how their past may affect their current caregiving.

Mellow Mums can help provide better outcomes for the mother and her baby/child by improving:

  • Maternal wellbeing
  • Mother-child interaction
  • Self-esteem and confidence
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Mellow Babies

Afternoon Workshop

Mellow Babies provides mums and dads with the support they need to develop strong relationships with their new babies. Topics covered include: what do babies do all day, what can babies do, bonding with baby, emotional and social development, sleep, playing, harmful parenting, safety in the home, etc. Video feedback on the parents’ own interaction with their baby is used.

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Mellow Toddlers

Afternoon Workshop

Mellow Toddlers is based on the original evidence based Mellow programme for children up to the age of 5, but looking in much more depth at the development of Toddlers. The programme looks at areas such as understanding parenting, child development, crying, feelings, toys and play, etc. Video feedback on the parents’ own interaction with their toddler is used.

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Mellow Bumps

Mellow Bumps & Mellow Dads-to-be are our antenatal programmes, delivered in separate six week groups for mums and dads to be with each session lasting two hours.

Mellow Bumps is especially relevant to the work of midwives, health visitors, family support workers and others to support families with additional health and social care needs. Whilst the groups are designed to be delivered separately they are included in the same one-day training: Mellow Bumps and Dads-to-be.

Research evidence has shown that ante-natal depression and anxiety have a long-term effect on the behaviour and learning of children, even as much as five years after birth. This effect is shown regardless of whether the mother suffers from post-natal depression though this has an additional effect on development, and is strongly predicted by antenatal depression. Depression and anxiety in dads-to-be has a separate effect, in addition to the mother’s wellbeing, so it is also important to support the wellbeing of dads-to-be.

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Dads to be

A programme intended to decrease the stress levels of dads-to-be and to help them understand that babies are prepared for social interaction from birth and the importance of early interaction for brain development. Each week there will be an activity for the dad-to-be himself and another on a baby topic.

Mellow Bumps was originally designed to be offered to mothers-to-be at about 20 to 30 weeks’ gestation to capture the period when the pregnancy is most secure and the mother may have experienced foetal movement but before her attention is taken up with the delivery. Mellow Dads-to-Be was designed as a result of partners wishing to be more involved in supporting the pregnancy and help achieve better outcomes for their babies.

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Mums to be

A programme intended to decrease the stress levels of mums-to-be in pregnancy, to help mums-to-be understand that babies are prepared for social interaction from birth and the importance of early interaction for brain development.

Each week there will be an activity for the mum-to-be herself and another on a baby topic. Mellow Bumps is designed to be offered at about 20 to 30 weeks’ gestation to capture the period when the pregnancy is most secure and the mother may have experienced foetal movement but before her attention is taken up with the delivery.

It got you thinking about who you’d like to support you as a family… doing activities that make you feel differently towards here and the baby… I benefited from the group

 Mellow Dad to be

 

It gives knowledge, support, a chance to socialise and a place to feel comfortable with others who may share similar issues.

Mellow Bumps Mum to be

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Mellow Conversations

Mellow Conversations is designed to give you many of the skills and benefits from a typical Mellow training but without the need to deliver a group.

It is a fun and interactive half day workshop centred on developing nurturing relationships.

A meaningful CPD opportunity that will enhance your skillset as a professional to work in unison with families and individuals to achieve common goals.

You will learn practical techniques to achieve a strength-based approach and solution-led conversation with those that you work with.

We understand that Mellow Conversations training is not just valuable to one person, but it can be to multiple people within your organisation, in which case we are happy to bring training to the comfort of you.

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