Partnership for Children was set up in September 2001 to promote the mental health and emotional wellbeing of young children.
The charity grew out of work by Befrienders International, a global suicide prevention agency with telephone hotline services in 41 countries. People who use such services often feel unable to cope with difficulties in their lives, and some see suicide as their only option. Befrienders reasoned that if children could learn coping skills at an early age, they would be better equipped to deal with crises and difficulties as teenagers and adults.
A school-based programme called Reaching Young Europe was created in 1997, to teach coping and social skills to six and seven year old children. The results were encouraging, but many teachers and parents were uneasy about a suicide prevention agency working with young children. Some media coverage was ill-informed and unhelpful.
To avoid such problems, it was decided to set up a new agency, independent of Befrienders International, to further develop work with children. Partnership for Children started work in January 2002, and Reaching Young Europe was re-named Zippy's Friends.
The range of our work has grown considerably over the past eight years. Zippy’s Friends is now running in schools and kindergartens in 27 countries, and has helped more than 800,000 children. The Parents’ Guide to the programme is available online in 23 languages.
Other resources and information have also been developed for parents, including Good Books for Tough Times, a booklet which recommends storybooks that can help young children who have to deal with difficult situations or feelings.Everything we do promotes good mental health for children, for life.