In June 2016, the Harlequins Foundation launched METTLE – a multi-stranded campaign under an overarching commitment to increase awareness around mental health and support preventative provision for all young people in our local boroughs and beyond.

METTLE uses the resources, brand and experience of The Harlequins Foundation to raise awareness, challenge the stigma of mental health whilst developing mental resilience in the young people involved.

In September 2016, we piloted an eight week mental resilience schools programme, developed by the Harlequins Foundation, with 165 Year Six pupils across four local primary schools.

In this academic year METTLE will now be delivered to 72 classes as we continue to grow the programme.


The pilot was evaluated by St Mary’s University and we have gone on to test the programme in secondary schools and universities. Our aim for 2017/2018 is to deliver METTLE to primary schools across the borough, as well as working with more specific at-risk groups, developing a suitable secondary offer, and growing the University programme based on the feedback from a further evaluation.

The programme was found to have had a positive impact on young people’s self-confidence, wellbeing, decision making and mental resilience. You can read the full background to the campaign and the findings from the evaluation of our primary pilot in this report.


The METTLE mental resilience schools programme is an interactive, evidence-based programme, underpinned by positive psychology and solution-focused thinking. The programme draws on the attraction of Harlequins to equip, educate and inspire young children in developing skills associated with mental resilience. It aims to deliver a unique and engaging narrative, using the message and learning from the pitch to bring about positive change in children’s lives.

The programme seeks to develop a practical and meaningful ‘Resilience Tool-Box’ which participants can draw upon at times of challenge, change or difficulty in any aspect of their lives. It was designed to be piloted initially with year-six primary school pupils (ten to 11-year-olds), who face a period of transition as they prepare to move on to senior school. Our aim was then to explore how the programme could be applied to secondary schools, further education and groups who are at risk of mental health issues.

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During the academic year 2017/18 the Harlequins Foundation delivered part of its flagship mental resilience programme, METTLE, to a group of 15 young people at Buckingham Primary School in Richmond. A year on and the foundation coaches are back to deliver the programme to a new group of Year 5 students but returning to the school has provided the perfect opportunity to check in on the progress of the students from last year.

Last year’s programme had such a positive impact the decision was made to extend delivery beyond the normal ten weeks to a total of fifteen. The Foundation coach who delivered the programme, Adrian Silvester, met some of the previous students this week who were still full of enthusiasm and he was delighted to see how much of it they still remembered a year on.

The students could recall key areas of the programme such as the importance of having a growth mindset and not giving up. The teachers also outlined the positive impact it had had on the student’s confidence, communication skills, ability to make friends and their academic attainment.

One young person said: “At the beginning of the year I didn’t know what to do, but METTLE taught be how to stand up for myself and helped me to make lots of new friends.”

Foundation Coach (Adrian Silvester) said: “Coming back to Buckingham Primary School has been an absolute pleasure. METTLE is a really important programme and one that we are immensely proud of. To hear how well the previous students are doing now is great and its clear that it’s made an impact”.