A collaborative project to improve children's mental and physical health through movement to help them become happier, healthier humans.

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Today’s children move less than ever before while mental health issues remain on the rise. With 1 in 10 children diagnosed with a mental health concern and a further 1 in 4 still undiagnosed, there is a growing need to help our young people to be happy and healthy.

Stormbreak CIC is a registered charity in England and Wales (118277) and a collective of schools, public health and the wider community partners that seek to improve children’s mental health and wellbeing through movement. Stormbreak works with schools to develop cultural change activities that equip children with sustainable, transferable skills and coping strategies to survive within the complex demands of growth into adult life. The charity is underpinned by a simple belief that inclusive and purposeful movement can support young people to develop the tools they will need for positive mental health throughout their lives.

The University of Winchester has been involved since the charity’s conception and remains part of the operational strategic and delivery team.

Project impact and outputs

Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF) Award

In 2018/19, Dr Vicky Randall was awarded £25,000 of HEIF funding by the University to support the set-up of Stormbreak:

  • To develop a cultural change journey for primary schools, working with teachers, senior leaders, initial teacher education providers, academic researchers, cultural change experts (business), sport/health organisations and Dorset CAMHS
  • To develop resources and training for use in schools to support mentally healthy movement activities – ‘stormbreaks’
  • To create a project framework for mentally healthy movement

HEIF Extension Project - Initial Teacher Education

In 2019/20, the University allocated further funding to support an extension project linked to the original Stormbreak HEIF award. The extension project focussed on the teaching workforce and in particular initial teacher education. As a result of this funding the University of Winchester, in collaboration with Stormbreak CIC, developed a seminar for initial teacher education providers and has so far delivered this to 5 higher education providers across England.

Charitable status

The culmination of this project contributed to Stormbreak receiving Charitable status in April 2019 and the development of the ‘Surge’ Professional Development Programme for primary schools. During this first year, funding was also used to support five University of Winchester partnership schools to receive the newly developed ‘Surge’ programme.

Publication reference: Randall, V. (2020) 'The Case for Movement to Support Child Mental health' Physical Education Matters 15(2) pp.10-12

All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on a Fit and Healthy Childhood: a Report on Mental Health through Movement

In 2018/2019 the University of Winchester collaborated with Bournemouth University to form a working group to write an APPG report on mental health through movement. The report was published in October 2019 and highlighted key policy gaps in relation to physical activity and mental health reform. The report further sign posted Stormbreak (and other projects) as examples of good practice.

2020 Stormbreak Summer Challenge

In the Spring of 2020, Stormbreak won an award of £80,000 from BBC Children in Need to implement a children’s mental health response to the Covid pandemic. The University of Winchester awarded an additional £2,500 to support this project. The outcome was the development of an online summer challenge for children to take part in ‘stormbreak @home’ and additional materials to support parents and teachers.

Read the University of Winchester press release on the Stormbreak Summer Challenge 

Watch Heidi Snook, Senior Lecturer in Education and Stormbreak Coach, lead a Stormbreak

Watch Dr Vicky Randall’s ‘Why Stormbreak’ video:


Contact us

For further information about Stormbreak, please contact Dr Vicky Randall, Senior Fellow in Knowledge Exchange in the University of Winchester's Faculty of Education and Director for Teaching and Learning at Stormbreak.

To contact Stormbreak directly:

email: hello@stormbreak.org.uk

Twitter: @hellostormbreak

website: www.stormbreak.org.uk