With the help of Nepean Blue Mountains Primary Health Network (NBMPHN) through the Empowering our Communities grants, Lithgow Information and Neighbourhood Centre (LINC) has started its program 'Social Circus: A trick to Mental health well-being'.
Lithgow High and Portland Central are two of the schools that had their teachers complete a basic circus workshop training in order to understand the benefits of the Social Circus program and to establish the joint work within schools and social circus trainers Cristina Portilla and Andrew Bennett.
The social circus is a program that will offer learning opportunities to the young people in the Lithgow government area according to Christina Portilla.
"Through the acquirement and practice of a selection of circus tricks, young people in the Lithgow LGA will be learning life skills as well as participating in psycho educational and therapeutic group experiences, as part of their sports program," she said.
Due to COVID-19, many of the Empowering our Communities activities at LINC have needed to be paused in order to comply with government requirements.
"LINC considers social circus to be a virtuous circle that keeps regenerating, for one person to be able to play a trick and share it, five others could learn, enabling the experience of being accepted and increasing feelings of self-worth within a group," she said.
During the workshop students will be learning circus skills, discussing values and world views in a safe space to find what they want to change in their community, their life, and developing a healthy self-concept.
"It is hoped with this project that participants motivation to join will increase with the encouragement and positivity received through social approval by performing tricks that require courage and skill, thus improving their mental health," she said.