Brathay - building resilience, enhancing wellbeing, for 75 years

Having a sense of positive wellbeing comes partly from resilience. After almost 75 years of operation, our focus on individual and community wellbeing is perhaps more relevant today than it has been for many years.

"We just need to keep supporting each other through the difficult times”.

This comment came from a senior manager in an organisation undergoing considerable change; it was a heartfelt plea to colleagues who were finding it tough to see further than their personal challenges, let alone think about supporting others. It resonates for many who are trying to make sense of how they navigate through the current crisis, and support others. This is relevant to everyone, as we all have a leadership role, as a parent, friends, business or community leader, and numerous more roles besides.

At Brathay, our focus on individual and community wellbeing is perhaps more relevant today than it has been for many years. Brathay will have been operating for 75 years in 2021, and the charity has supported young people and leaders throughout, post-WW2 leadership, 1960’s cultural change; 1980’s recession and post-millennium digital change. What we have learned in that time, is that the qualities and skills required to meet the challenges of each decade remain consistent.

Back to the present - our development programmes this year are changing rapidly as we meet the market needs. We are now delivering a blend of digital, face to face and residential modules, all operating under the relevant guidance and regulation. What has not changed is the foundation of our work. Having a sense of positive wellbeing comes partly from resilience. Resilient people show behaviours that are very distinctive, including:

Understanding and valuing the meaning of what you do; having a sense of purpose enable resilient people to greet new situations, people and demands with a positive attitude, and put these into context. Resilient people say Yes, but they are also confident in saying No, when they need to.

Drawing on a range of strategies to cope with pressure; everyone is under stress at the moment, and the difference between people is how they manage themselves in different situations. Resilient people take a problem-solving approach to difficulty, keep a sense of perspective (and humour) when things go wrong, ask for help when they need it.

Recognising thoughts and emotions, and managing them; being comfortable with one’s reaction to the events that we are faced with, being flexible and willing to adapt to change, and being willing to persevere when the going gets tough, while recognising and respecting your own limits, including what you can control and what you can’t.

These skills and qualities can be learned and practiced at any age; whether it is the first time a young person takes time to reflect and consider these things, or whether it is the n’th time a 50 year old practices refining their skills, we are all able to build our resilience, given the space, time and support. What is reassuring is that increased resilience can be developed at any age, leading to better wellbeing.

At Brathay we know everyone has the capacity to do extraordinary things that can inspire and benefit others. This drives our mission to improve the life chances of children, young people and families by inspiring them to engage positively in their communities. We believe our mission has never been more relevant.