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Year of action

The year of action

Cheltenham Borough Council and its partners committed to a year of action in 2019, called No Child Left Behind, that:

  • Highlighted the issue of children growing up in poverty in Cheltenham and the inequality between them and their more affluent peers
  • Started to address the inequality gap beginning with 12 month programme of events and activities
  • Was a call to action for all sectors to work together to make transformational change over the longer-term

Starting the conversation – In January No Child Left Behind called together experts, organisational leads, voluntary services, residents and anyone else who wanted to know more. around 100 people atended and pledged their support to the project, offering everything from free venues, training, big ideas and their own activities and events. 

Presentations from Judith Kavanaugh –  End Child Poverty, Sarah Scott – Director of Public Health, and Kathryn Martin – Inform Gloucestershire, helped us to get a better understanding of the impacts of child poverty, and how it impacts families in Cheltenham in every area of their lives. See the presentations below:

End Child Poverty

ACEs – from theory to practice

We also welcomed esteemed speakers Dame Janet Trotter, Kat Aukett (Prospects) and Andy Dempsey (GCC) who brought us though-provoking anecdotes and inspiring messages.

On the day we also collected donations from attendees for Cheltenham Food Bank and Cheltenham’s period poverty project, Unstoppable. Thank you to all who donated.

In February we looked at the benefits of having positive relationships within families and wider communities.

The importance of kindness

We encouraged children to think about how small acts of kindness helped build and strengthen relationships. 750 school children across Cheltenham went home with our NCLB/ACEs ‘Kindness Boxes in their book bags.

The boxes carried this message:

How to use your Kindness Box

Every time someone does something kind, thoughtful or helpful for you, something that makes you smile, jot it down on a scrap of paper and pop it in the box.

At the end of the week, with your family or friends, open the box and read through all the nice things other people have done for you. Think about how these acts of kindness made you feel. Think too about kind things you have done for others, what else could you do? How can you keen the ball rolling?

Remember, kindness is contagious!

The importance of kindness

Connecting with friends and engaging with community activities can make a huge difference to children, especially those who have experienced adversity.

Being that trusted adult for a child can help them to build resilience, making them better able to cope with change and challenges in their lives.

Kindness is the best way to build relationships.

To find out more go to

Domestic Abuse awareness

We worked with Gloucestershire Domestic Abuse Support Service to deliver training in how to support young people who may live in homes where domestic abuse is present.  Around sixty professionals from services such as health, police, youth support, charities, sports clubs etc attended an hour long introduction . Staff from schools, whether teachers or support staff, looked more in depth with training over 3 evenings. 

NCLB continue to work with GDASS and WMWA so keep an eye out as we present the new young people’s domestic abuse service in Gloucestershire.


LoveRespect – Women’s Aid have launched a new #LoveRespect website to support teenage girls at risk of relationship abuse and challenge myths surrounding the nature of coercive control. The new website, which features a relationship health check, survivor stories, practical advice and an email support service, is designed for teenage girls who may not realise they are experiencing relationship abuse, and are less likely than older women to call a helpline. Bestselling young adult author and feminist activist Holly Bourne is the charity’s #LoveRespect Ambassador.  

Thanks to funding from Gloucestershire County Council Unstoppable was launched on International Women’s Day 2019 as Cheltenham’s commitment to eradicating period poverty in our town.

Find out more on our Unstoppable web pages.

In April we worked with the ACEs panel to spread the word that ‘resilience trumps ACEs’.

200 professionals attended our ACEs awareness day where we looked at what ACEs are, how they affect children throughout their lives and how we can combat them.

Find out more about ACEs at

#CheltChat event

The council works in close collaboration with its partner, Cheltenham Borough Homes in the community housing sector. Here’s Paul Stephenson, chief executive of Cheltenham Borough Homes talking about working together, creating community hubs offering a range of different engagement activities and advice centres help people to develop themselves and the communities they live in.

An incredibly fun and free event with over 3,000 people attending the festival at the Cheltenham town hall. Over 25 exciting activities and performances were on offer at the festival celebrating all the strengths and talents of children in the town.

Our thanks go to all the exhibitors who gave their time to this festival.

Follow the festival @ChildrensFestivalChelt on Facebook or #CheltChildFestival on Twitter to keep up to date with news and activities.

Cheltenham Children’s Festival is free and relies on the support of local organisations and volunteers. If you would like to volunteer at the festival please contact

The festival is run by a steering group of: Cheltenham Borough Council, County Community Projects, Police and Crime Commissioner’s Office, Gardners Lane and Oakwood Federation, Cheltenham Science Group, Cheltenham Trust, Cheltenham Festivals and the Everyman Theatre.


A fun activities based careers fair was hosted at Pittville School, attended by 400 children from Pittville Year 7, and years 5 and 6 from feeder primaries. Research gathered shows pupils’ career aspirations lean towards wanting to know more about STEM opportunities such as cyber, as well as careers in the field of sport.

Our thanks to all the exhibitors: GlosJobs, the Everyman theatre, GCHQ, NCSC, Northrop Grumman, Holiday Inn Express, Tidal Training, University of Gloucestershire, Cheltenham Trust, John Lewis and partners, Gloucestershire Constabulary, Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue service, Cheltenham Town Football Club and Cheltenham Borough Council’s environmental health team.

If you’d like to be involved or want to know more about our future plans contact us

Everybody knows that it’s important to look after your physical health, but this is especially true for children. Research shows that physical activity helps kids in a lot of ways.

  • Improves behaviour, self-confidence and social skills
  • Improves attention levels
  • Develops co-ordination
  • Strengthens muscles and bones
  • Improves health and fitness
  • Maintains healthy weight
  • Helps them sleep better
  • Improves their mood and makes them feel good!

Kids need to be active for 60 minutes per day and this can take a hit in the school holidays when they aren’t walking to school each day, doing PE lessons or attending after school sports clubs.

There are lots of free or low cost ways to keep active in our town through the summer, and we are challenging you to try as many as you can.

THE CHALLENGE was to collect as many NCLB stickers as you can from the venues, clubs, and activity providers below. Any child collecting 16 or more stickers will go into our prize draw.

Our hobbies and interests help us in many ways. They help us to express ourselves, make new friends, and build self-esteem.

They also help us to learn; A child who enjoys playing lego learns about engineering and creativity, and a child who enjoys reading and writing learns about sentence structure and grammar.

Hobbies teach us to set and achieve our goals, solve problems and make decisions – very important life skills.

It can take a bit of time and experimentation for children to find the thing they love to do and what they are good at, and sometimes trying lots of different clubs and classes can be expensive.

In August 2019 No Child Left Behind set out to help children in Cheltenham explore what they are passionate about, by seeking out fun free activities in town throughout the month.

Throughout September we will be bringing you more info on the many ways that Cheltenham is helping young people get the most out of their education.

Restorative education 

In September more Cheltenham schools begun their journey of restorative practice.

What is restorative practice?

Restorative practice describes a core set of beliefs, principles and a way of being with people that builds and maintains healthy relationships, a sense of community and a shared sense of accountability.

It is about giving high levels of support and challenge to inspire people and communities to feel able to resolve their problems and shape their own futures.

When we work with and alongside people, there is a wealth of evidence that proves doing so can lead to significant and sustained positive change. Restorative practice is a way to be, not a process to follow or a thing to do.

Around Gloucestershire more and more schools are adopting this way of building relationships and resolving conflict.

We spoke to professionals from schools and Gloucestershire County Council to find out more about their journey. 


In 2017 a school contacted Cheltenham Borough Homes (CBH) looking for long term work experience for students who were struggling within the traditional classroom setting and at risk of exclusion. To meet this need CBH’s Employment Initiatives Service created ‘Thrive’, an innovative alternative provision programme aimed at young people providing support to stay in education.

This year the six month programme ran with pupils from All Saints Academy and Pittville School where they completed a range of activities and work placements specially designed for them to achieve their ASDAN Careers and Experiencing Work certificate. The young people attend ‘Thrive’ every Friday instead of their schools, with the first six weeks of the programme covering a variety of topics including first aid, employability skills, future planning and budgeting.

CBH used their relationships with local suppliers including Cheltenham Flooring, Liberty Gas, Ian Williams and Travis Perkins to provide work placements. Travis Perkins also provided funding to the course, enabling CBH to provide bus passes, breakfast and lunch at each session and personal protective equipment for each student to use on their placements. This fund enabled CBH to celebrate the students’ achievements by hosting a graduation event which was attended by their families and our partners.

The placements provide valuable experience and first hand insight into what jobs are available and what they involve – inspiring the young people to look at their career options when leaving school.

To date, the programme has supported 13 young people, with participants going on to further education, apprenticeship and full time employment. None of the young people at risk of exclusion at the beginning of the programme have gone on to be excluded from school.

CBH is now looking to build on the positive relationships they have created with partners to help young people to Thrive.

In acknowledgement of World Mental Health Day on 10th October we have spent the month looking at how we can help to improve the mental wellbeing of young people and families in our town. 

Schools celebrate World Mental Health Day

A number of Cheltenham schools did activities to highlight and raise awareness of the importance of mental and emotional wellbeing. Some schools wore yellow for the day, others thought about the 5 steps to wellbeing and some held special themed assemblies. Well done to all the children who got involved!

NCLBxMHFA collaboration for Cheltenham Schools

NCLB have been working with MHFA England  to develop a brand new, bespoke training package for pupils from Cheltenham’s secondary schools. This never-before-taught package aims to upskill a cohort of young people to act as Mental Health Champions, providing support and signposting to their peers and helping to build a stigma-free and non-judgemental ethos within their school. 

Bournside school were the first to receive this training and NCLB were thoroughly impressed with how passionate and knowledgable the group were about MH issues – we think they’re going to go on to do great things!

Shelf Help

NCLB also thought about the resources that would be available to these new school champions! NCLB, with help and support from partners, will be ensuring that each participating school library is stocked with the Reading Agency booklist for Young People’s mental Health. The booklist, made up of a mixture of non-fiction, fiction and educational books, covers a range of MH issues including anxiety, autism, OCD, mood disorders, ADHD, exam stress, body issues and self harm. The champions will be able to use these books to help their classmates develop their understanding of common mental health concerns. 

Additional resources:

We ran a social media campaign for #AchievingBoys.

This month we are encouraging children and families to record short video tutorials showing us how to prepare their favourite recipes.

During the festive period, when food is everywhere you look, we want to explore why it’s so important to eat as a family, to prepare meals together and to stick to a budget!

Cooking and eating as a family is beneficial to our health in a lot of ways. It has been shown that when families eat together they tend to eat more healthily, and cooking from fresh ingredients helps to eliminate some of the nasties that are hidden in processed foods. Spending time with our loved-ones also helps our mental and emotional wellbeing. Taking on the task together, and then sitting and talking to each other while we eat, helps to develop our relationships and makes our families stronger.

Here are some top tips to #EatingWell in your family:

  • Start slowly. However many meals you eat as a family now, add one more to your weekly schedule. If school nights are too hectic for a family dinner, make it a leisurely weekend breakfast or lunch. After a few weeks, add another family meal to your schedule
  • Plan tasty menus together. Putting together a family meal does not have to be complicated or time-consuming. Let every member of the family choose a favorite item and build simple, delicious meals around them. Even small children can pick a main dish like wraps or pasta, a vegetable like a peppers or cooked carrots and something sweet like bananas and custard for pud.
  • Talk! The conversations families have while eating together have a huge impact, as you share experiences and ideas, and pass along family values. Pick topics that are positive and allow everyone to talk. Even toddlers like to discuss topics like ‘What is your favorite colour?’ or ‘What made you laugh today?
  • Turn off the TV, phones and anything else that makes noise. They create distractions that can throw off any family’s mealtime routine. Declare mealtime a TV- and phone-free zone. Instead, maybe put on some background music, played at low volume, to add a relaxing atmosphere.

How to film your #EatingWell video!

Prepare your ingredients

Think about your ingredients before you start preparing your dish. Does anything need to soak? Does it need to be at room temperature or defrosted? You may need to prepare some bits the night before.

We recommend that you get a grown up to help you with any preparation beforehand. Chopping, slicing and dicing while trying to film a video can lead to distractions and mishaps!

Prepare your cookery area

Is the room well-lit? If it’s dark then people may not be able to see the details of what you are doing, and will find it hard to follow your recipe.

Is your work surface clear and clean? This will make your video look slick and professional.

Make sure you have all the utensils and ingredients close by so you don’t have to keep stopping and walking away to get things you need.

Think about where to place your camera (or your camera person) to get a good view of what you are doing, and of yourself – the star of the show!

Know your recipe!

Have it written down in front of you, or cook something you can do from memory. Maybe cook for your family or friends the day before as a practice run – I’m sure they wouldn’t mind!

Get cooking!

Start your film by introducing yourself and any helpers you have and telling the viewers what you are going to cook. If it’s a recipe that you love to cook, or one that has been handed down in your family, or if you adapted the recipe somehow, tell them this too!

You can film non-stop and then edit after or you can stop and start as you go. There is no hard and fast rule – do whatever works for you.

Remember – Be careful when using the oven or hot surfaces, like hobs. Get a grown up to help you with hot, sharp or fiddly bits.


Editing your video is really key to a good tutorial, and is an excellent skill to start practicing now if you would like to create more web content in the future.

There are loads of easy-to-use apps to help you. We have listed a couple of free ones here:

  • Splice
  • Video Editor
  • iMovie or Apple clips (iOS only)

Based on our research there is NO NEED to pay for any editing apps – the free ones work just as well for this!

Once it is done, email it to us at, or post it to our Facebook or Twitter pages @NCLBchelt.

Please note when you email it to us we may use some or all of your video on our social media, and the video in its entirety will be used on our YouTube channel. Please check with your parent or guardian that they are happy for you to appear on social media before you send it.


Herby CousCous

Saucy Sausage Pasta

What we achieved in 2019...

Take a look at the infographic below for a summary of all the things that took place during the year of action. Click/tap the image to download a PDF version.

No Child Left Behind would like to say a huge ‘thank you’ to everyone who has worked with us through our year of action to help ensure that all children in Cheltenham have opportunities to thrive.

With special thanks to...

  • Cheltenham Borough Council
  • OPCC – The Commissioners Fund
  • Gloucestershire Constabulary
  • Cheltenham Borough Homes
  • Gloucestershire County Council
  • Pittville School
  • Gardeners Lane and Oakwood Federation
  • The Cheltenham Trust
  • Cheltenham BID

...and all these other great supporters...

  • Oakwood Primary School
  • Shurdington Primary School
  • The Catholic School of St Gregory the Great
  • Pittville School
  • Bournside School
  • Gardners Lane Primary School
  • Leckhampton Primary School
  • Gloucestershire Domestic Abuse Support Service
  • Action on ACEs Gloucestershire
  • Tesco Superstore
  • Chapel Arts
  • #FuelThursdays
  • Mental Health First Aid England
  • End Child Poverty
  • Hesters Way Neighbourhood Project
  • Oakley Resource Centre
  • Charlotte Parnell photography
  • Airborne Trampoline Park
  • Leisure At Cheltenham
  • Cheltenham Unitarians
  • In The Park ltd
  • Hollywood Bowl
  • Mr Mulligans
  • Cheltenham Town Football Club Community Trust
  • Play Gloucestershire
  • Prospects
  • Cheltenham Everyman
  • John Lewis
  • House of Fraser
  • Cheltenham Festivals
  • Cheltenham Science Group
  • The Entertainer
  • Sandford Parks Lido
  • 411 Fly Up
  • APT Marketing & Design
  • Cornerstone Centre

…and many more!

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