Suffolk Mind have confirmed that every reception aged child (four-to-five-years-old) will receive a free storybook in September, teaching them about the benefits of exercise on their mental health.
Independent mental health charity, Suffolk Mind launched a Crowdfunding campaign on World Book Day in March to raise enough money to publish over 8,000 copies of ‘Sammy the Sea Squirt’.
With the help of many supporters including Suffolk County Council, the East of England Co-op, Treatt, and the arc in Bury St Edmunds this can now become a reality.
The picture book is based on the character Sammy the Sea Squirt, who moves with ocean friends to look after memory and emotions.
Head of Education at Suffolk Mind, Ezra Hewing, has written the story, and a local children’s illustrator has brought the characters to life.
Ezra Hewing said: “We are so grateful to everyone who supported this campaign so we can deliver a very special book to all four-to-five-year-olds in Suffolk during their first year of school.
“We want to ensure that children know the benefits of exercise on their mental health from a young age to help them to learn the skills to be emotionally resilient as they continue to grow into adulthood.”
A number of schools supported the campaign by hosting their own Sammy the Sea Squirt fundraising day on Friday 28th May by dressing up in colourful clothes and taking part in lots of fun, education activities.
Suffolk’s Most Active County Partnership and Public Health Suffolk have also supported the campaign throughout and will be distributing the books to children when they return to school in September.
Cllr Andrew Reid, Cabinet Member for Public Health, Public Protection, & Communities, said: “We are delighted to see this project come to fruition. It’s a really imaginative way of helping children and families understand how important it is for our children’s physical and mental health that they are active from a young age and build strong foundations for being active throughout their lives.
“Hearty congratulations to everyone involved in the successful fundraising campaign and I look forward to seeing the finished version of the book distributed to all reception age children in Suffolk later in the year.”
For more information about Sammy the Sea Squirt visit www.suffolkmind.org.uk.