“I thought people didn’t like me.” Ten-year-old Charles spoke these heart-breaking words. Charles struggled with confidence and anger at school after facing bullying which he didn’t know how to cope with.

At school, I didn’t want to come because I kept getting bullied almost every day,” says Charles. I was getting more angry and reactive,” he continues. If someone said something mean about me, I would get physical and punch them or kick them. I was getting in trouble more than other people but I didn’t really think that was fair.”

Research shows that five children in a class of 30 are now likely to have a mental health problem (Good Childhood Report 2022). Therefore, it’s no surprise that poor emotional wellbeing is at the heart of an overall rise in mental health disorders” (Youthscape Research project 2023). From poverty to bereavement, family breakdown, and food insecurity, there are children across the UK facing some of the toughest starts in life.

Here at TLG (Transforming Lives for Good) we believe change is possible and that no child should have to struggle alone. We are a national Christian children’s charity with 25 years of experience working with vulnerable children using trauma-informed expertise. 


Our TLG Early Intervention programme exists to equip churches to support struggling children in schools through coaching – one coach, one child, one hour a week. And we are seeing an incredible impact!

The coaching creates a safe space for each child to build a connection with a trusted adult, and to explore their emotions. 82% of our coaches are also connecting with parents and carers to further strengthen this support for their coached child. This incredibly effective tool enables the church to join in with God’s heart, for every child to know a future full of hope.

One of our amazing volunteer coaches said: I’ve learned (again!) that just turning up regularly for the child and doing things that they want to do is the most valuable part of coaching, and it means a lot to the parents as well. I have also learned that relationships with parents are often a slow burn, and you need to persevere with the positive texts. I have learned that prayer changes things!”

84% of TLG-coached children say that they feel more confident after a year of Early Intervention and 85% of children feel more positive. We can see how valuable this service is proving to be in schools as well. One coached child recently said, If I was feeling stressed my coach would help me with ideas to make it better. My TLG sessions are really fun and help me feel calm. My coach is kind and fun and lovely. I feel like she has helped me with my panic attacks. I don’t really have them anymore. I feel calmer in the classroom. I don’t shout out anymore.”

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TLG coaches are trained to approach sessions with a PACE approach — Playfulness, Acceptance, Curiosity, and Empathy. The coaching hour is spent solely dedicated to the child having a positive session. We have seen that coaching enables children to return to class more relaxed and ready to learn.

Louis’ story

Louis was one of those children who struggled from an early age in school, experiencing bullying, name-calling, and even being told to kill himself. I just felt anxious, stressed, worthless. I thought why am I here? What am I doing?’ he said of his experience. 

Soon after being paired with a TLG Early Intervention coach, things began to turn around for Louis. Early Intervention coaching gave Louis a safe space to explore his emotions”, says his coach Wendy.

Through lots of encouragement and support, Louis’ confidence grew. Louis sums up his experience beautifully, Coaching has helped me massively because before I was just a little year seven kid, just tucked away in a corner not knowing what his purpose was, and now, after having coaching, I’ve just come out as this intelligent and smart kid who has just developed himself.” 

"Coaching has helped me massively because before I was just a little year seven kid, just tucked away in a corner not knowing what his purpose was, and now, after having coaching, I’ve just come out as this intelligent and smart kid who has just developed himself." "

TLG is responding to the growing children’s mental health crisis by ensuring we provide expert training for our volunteers, creative and accessible resources, and regular professional ongoing support as well as a safe and supportive online community.

Are you seeing the impact of the mental health crisis in your community?

Access our free online training to help you spot the signs of emotional distress in children and adults and know how to respond to them effectively.

As we strive towards a future where no child is without hope, we want to equip churches up and down the country to know how to spot the signs of emotional distress and respond to them effectively.

This free 90-minute live webinar is available for all church staff and members.

The training provides:

  • A biblical perspective on being therapeutic.
  • A three-step guide to responding in the moment to signs of emotional distress.
  • Tools you can use to continue journeying alongside someone who is struggling.

Find out more about emotional first aid on the TLG website.

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