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Personalised letterbox gift company Colleague Box teams up with Derby County Community Trust for launch of wellbeing sessions for teenage girls

Personalised letterbox gift company Colleague Box teams up with Derby County Community Trust for launch of wellbeing sessions for teenage girls

A new initiative aimed at young girls, which focusses on wellbeing for mind and body, has been hailed a huge success.

Derby County Community Trust, which has recently been named EFL Community Club of the Season for the Midlands for making a significant difference to the lives of people living in the city, launched the GREAT Girls Hub last month in partnership with personalised gift company Colleague Box and Sport England.

The hour-long sessions, which take place every Tuesday at Derby Arena, are for girls between the ages of 11-16. Youngsters are encouraged to come and talk openly to other females in a community that is supportive, positive and compassionate to others, with fun activities – such as boxing – to support their physical wellbeing.

Natalie Bamford, CEO of Colleague Box and mum to four-year-old Poppy and Lola (14), is proud to be involved in the project. She said:

“As a mum to two brilliant girls, I feel that it’s important to have initiatives such as the GREAT Girls Hub here in Derby.

“The sessions offer a ‘safe’ space for girls to come and have fun without any judgement; we live in a fast-paced world where most of those who attend have more than one social media account. We want them to come along and enjoy themselves with no pressures of posting updates on their TikTok or Instagram accounts.

“We want to champion girls, celebrate their individuality and get them involved.

“Lola has been to all the sessions with me, and it’s been great to see her chatting to girls of a similar age, discussing hobbies and interests. She’s been very hands-on, too, taking part in the team building activities which have been on offer.”

Derby County Community Trust, the charity arm of the football club, have been praised for their various projects – including the Active Recovery programme, which has supported more than 500 patients recovering from cancer; their Derby Opportunity Area-funded Inclusion Project, run alongside partners including children’s mental health CIC Bridge The Gap and charity Safe & Sound and the Sensory Room, which allows families to attend matchdays, and is also used to support those with additional sensory needs throughout the year. 

Simon Carnall, head of community at Derby County Community Trust, said:

“We’d like to thank Colleague Box for their support with the GREAT Girls Hub and, indeed, all of our supporters, participants and board of trustees.

“Derby County Community Trust work hard to support more than 25,000 participants annually through 40-plus projects. Our staff team, who are on the ground week in, week out helping people to become happier and healthier versions of themselves, are a credit to the Trust and this latest initiative is another way in which we’re giving back to the community.”

Since setting up Colleague Box after being furloughed during the first UK lockdown, Natalie and husband Adam have continually thrown their weight behind various projects and charities such as Safe and Sound, which helps victims of child exploitation and their families, and Food 4 Thought Alliance; a charity that supports people who are experiencing food poverty.

Natalie played a pivotal role in organising a huge fundraising event at Bustler Market recently, with money raised helping families in Ukraine via the DEC’s Emergency Disaster Fund.

And the award-winning entrepreneur, a former teaching assistant from Spondon, harbours hopes of Colleague Box one day becoming a community interest company, which means that profits and assets are used for public good. 

“That is the dream,” said Natalie, “and organising the Ukraine fundraiser in Derby showed me just how much support there is in our city.

“I’ve been absolutely blown away by the generosity of businesses and well-wishers. We were donated some incredible prizes – tickets to Chatsworth House from Marketing Derby, Easter goodies from small businesses and signed football boots from Derby County’s Festy Ebosele – and the turn out at the event was fantastic.

“Hopefully we can make a difference to those in need at this difficult time.”

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