The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry have officially opened The Global Academy in support of Heads Together on Thursday 20th April. They met students training to be the next generation of production staff, as flagship Global stations LBC, Heart and Capital broadcast shows from the new Academy in Hayes, London. Their Royal Highnesses heard from students about the Academy’s wellbeing programme and Global stations focused on the mental health of young people, helping the Heads Together campaign to generate conversations on mental wellbeing.
The royal trio also saw students and Capital presenter Roman Kemp trying out the Heads Together Snapchat Lens, launched today, which enables everyone to take a picture of themselves wearing a Heads Together headband in support of changing the conversation on mental health.
The Global Academy is a state school founded and operated by Global, The Media & Entertainment Group, designed to prepare students for careers in the broadcast and digital media industry, offering academic and vocational training.
During the visit, The Duke and Duchess and Prince Harry visited the Heart Breakfast Show and LBC's Nick Ferrari Show – to see the programme in action and meet students helping to produce the material. They each visited a classroom, where pupils were learning about the science of sound, the student radio station where pupils were working on a mental wellbeing project, and an audio project listening to EMI’s vinyl recording of early speeches of the Royal Family.
Throughout the day Global aired shows focusing on mental health, with guests from Heads Together’s eight charity partners talking about their work and the importance of conversations on mental health. Phil Eaglesham, Alistair Campbell and Fiona Millar and Katie Massie-Taylor and Sarah Hesz from the Heads Together conversation #oktosay film series appeared as guests on Global talking about why they chose to open up about their experiences with mental health issues and Heart hosted an hour’s phone in exploring young people and anxiety.
Their Royal Highnesses also joined a roundtable discussion with Global presenters, LBC’s Nick Ferrari, Heart’s Jamie Theakston and Emma Bunton and Capital’s Roman Kemp, as well as students Katie and Sarah, who took part in the morning LBC show, talking about the importance of having a conversation about mental health.
The Duke and Duchess and Prince Harry attended a special assembly to mark the opening of the school, at which students showed their creative work on wellbeing including a poem, dance and short film. To formally open the school The Duke of Cambridge unveiled the original microphone, that was manufactured by the factory formerly based on the site of the school and used by George VI on the outbreak of the Second World War.
During the visit, Their Royal Highnesses saw Roman Kemp and a group of students launch the Heads Together headband Snapchat Lens. The Lens enables everybody to wear a Heads Together headband to join the runners in the Virgin Money London Marathon, who have all been given Heads Together headbands, to help make it the world’s first mental health marathon. The headband is the first ever special edition lens Snapchat has launched with a charitable cause, giving thousands of people the opportunity to place a digital version of the Heads Together headband on their heads and take a photo for 24 hours on the day of the London Marathon.
To encourage conversations on mental health the Snapchat Lens, if you take your picture with someone else, you are greeted with celebratory confetti, cheering and a message that ‘two heads are better than one’. The Lens goes live for all users on Sunday, and will be the first selection available but Heads Together has made it available early. (The Snapchat code can be accessed here - @global / @thegacademy global.com / globalacademy.com #TeamHeadsTogether)
Ashley Tabor, founder of Global and the Global Academy, said: “We have created an environment where students can talk about any troubles or mental health issues they are facing. Mental wellbeing is at the core of the Global Academy curriculum, and should be recognised and accommodated just like physical wellbeing. That means learning about it openly and being able to talk about it so it can be treated properly and effectively. It’s this openness we’re celebrating here today. I honestly hope and believe that in a few years’ time, we'll look back and be amazed that mental illness was ever looked at as anything other than the same as a physical illness, and I hope that day comes very soon.”
Simon Collins, Global Academy principal, said: “There has never been more pressure on young adults to ‘fit the norm’ – whether that’s posting the perfect picture on social media or creating a different persona online. The Global Academy was created to enable young adults from all backgrounds to learn the skills they need to prosper in an ever changing world. At the Global Academy, we encourage our students to talk, and talk about things that might be considered taboo.”
Support The Global Academy and the Heads Together campaign through their social media links.
Twitter: @kensingtonroyal / @Heads_Together #TeamHeadsTogether/ @LondonMarathon
Instagram: KensingtonRoyal / Heads_Together