Children's health and well-being

Improving the mental and physical well-being of children in disadvantaged areas

Mini Mermaids - OWLS Bereavement Project

What is Mini Mermaids and Young Tritons?

Mini Mermaids and Young Tritons aim to help youngsters improve their physical and mental wellbeing and counter pressure from peers, and society in general, about how young people should look, feel and behave.

Mini Mermaids’ unique programme combines physical activity with mindfulness exercises to increase self-esteem and well-being during girls’ formative years.

Young Tritons, meanwhile, inspires boys to work together for a common goal, by developing their self-compassion and empathy.

The Appeal is funding the delivery of a number of both programmes in Leeds, Sheffield and Hull.

How it began

The Mini Mermaids programme was brought to the UK from the USA by Leeds mum Hannah Corne who, inspired by her daughter Flo, became concerned at the stress and pressure young girls are under.

The Mini Mermaids scheme was quickly joined by the Young Tritons programme which is tailored specifically to boys and the sorts of issues they face.

Young Tritons aims to teach them they can be strong by working as a team, sharing their emotions, helping and encouraging each other in all areas of life, not just ‘on the sports field’.

The schemes aim to encourage physical well-being in children and instil a love of being active and how it links to how they feel (their mental health), before children move up to secondary school where they are statistically more likely to drop out of sport.

Children's health & wellbeing

What's involved in the programme?

Mini Mermaids and Young Tritons is a twice weekly after-school club lasting six weeks. At the end, the children take part in a 5km challenge where they can run, hop or skip their way around.

Using a blend of journal work and group discussions, alongside physical activity, each programme caters for around 10 children. The coaches follow a curriculum that has been written by child psychologists, fitness specialists and parents.

Through Mini Mermaids, the girls learn self-compassion and the value of exercise and moving their bodies regardless of their size, shape or ability, most importantly it is not focused on being first or running fast.

Key elements of the programme include two characters, who represent girls’ inner cheerleader and their inner critic. Girls learn to identify and acknowledge both voices, while developing strategies to following their positive voice. 

For Young Tritons, the focus is on helping boys address their thoughts and feelings and to have open conversations. They are encouraged to build teams that work together, growing their compassion and empathy for each other.

Mini Mermaids combine mindfulness, physical activity, and games. Girls learn to be brave, rather than perfect

Mini Mermaids founder Hannah Corne

Find out more and get involved

There are many ways you could support these two programmes, from becoming a volunteer programme coach or being a running buddy at the final 5KM run to fundraising for or donating towards these programmes.

Supporting these programmes is important to ensure they can continue helping children at such a pivotal time in their lives.

Mini Mermaids - OWLs Bereavement Project

Our Mini Mermaids

Hear from some of our Mini Mermaids on what they have learned from the programme. 

Mini Mermaids - OWLS Bereavement Project