Nearly 300 primary school children from across Devon attended a special event to boost their mental health and wellbeing at Buckfast Abbey.

The abbey’s education department invited hundreds of Key Stage 2 pupils to its annual Take5 Festival where they enjoyed a series of fun, practical and engaging workshops focusing on emotional, physical, spiritual and mental health.

During the day, pupils took part in three workshops which included a physical, reflective, and craft-based activity such as Taiko drumming, walking a prayerful labyrinth, kite making, Forest Chi, walking with gentle therapy alpacas and making wristbands to help the children explore their emotions and learn how to deal with them.

Alison Gagg, the abbey’s education manager said: “This year’s festival was a particularly exciting one for us as it was the first multi-school event we’ve been able to host since December 2019.

“It was delightful to see so many children at the abbey again, bringing with them such a lot of energy and excitement.

“Their teachers were also full of praise about the event, with many of them asking to secure their space for next year before the day was even over.”

Led by the abbey’s experts in children’s wellbeing, the Take5 Festival is based around the five actions that promote wellbeing – give, take notice, learn and create, be active, and connect.

The abbey says it received a “staggering” level of interest from primary schools across the county wishing to attend this year’s event and places were allocated on a first-come-first served basis.

The schools who were unsuccessful in securing a place for this year’s festival have been added to a list for next year’s event.

Alison said: “It’s easy to forget how difficult the past couple of years have been for school children, with the impacts of Covid being the cause of many new anxieties and worries.

“It’s really important that we continue to support schools in their provision for children’s general wellbeing.

“We hope to continue running the festival for many years to come, alongside setting up smaller, individual wellbeing workshops throughout the year.”

Buckfast Abbey’s education team engages with some 10,000 children each year and as well as hosting regular school visits, the team is looking forward to hosting the 4Front Theatre Company’s show ‘Fishermen’s Tail’ on Thursday and Friday July 7 and 8.

The production tells the story of Jesus and his disciples on the Sea of Galilee and is suitable for all primary school children.

Schools can book by emailing [email protected]