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School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences

University of Birmingham

Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 2TT



Where we're heading. What we're doing. What we've done. 

Welcome to our projects page, here you can find out a little more about what our future plans, what we're currently doing and previous work we've been a part of.


Our Mental Skills Training toolkit (#MSTtoolkit) is an ongoing project. Our aim is to produce a toolkit that has received input from staff and young people from our partners St Basils and Youth Voice, as well as, incorporating the views of experts and stakeholders in the sector.

The mental skills training toolkit is the result after 6+ years of research with our collaborative partner St Basils. Building from the content included in the MST4Life programme, the toolkit includes activities which are designed to support young people recognise and develop their mental skills, such as: goal-setting, coping strategies, resilience and support seeking. 

When producing the toolkit, we sought out the views of staff and young people. From these workshops, it was clear that the toolkit needed to include tips and techniques to help staff and young people engage in conversation and complete the tools collaboratively. 

More recently, we pitched an initial prototype of the toolkit to a wider audience of 60+ people from the homeless sector, including front-line staff and policymakers. Based on their feedback, the toolkit is undergoing revisions before being officially launched in early 2020 - watch this space!

You can find links to the toolkit and find out more about how it was created on our toolkit page.



All young people have the capacity for growth and personal development. My Strengths Training for Life (MST4Life) uses a distinctly strengths-based approach informed by clinical and sports psychology to support young people to achieve their goals.

The MST4Life programme has become a central component of a large housing provider's support and wellbeing offer to young people. Those who are currently NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training) are particularly encouraged to take part in the programme.

MST4Life uses similar techniques to those used by sports coaches to help young people establish aspirations, set goals and utilise support networks to develop confidence, teamwork, problem-solving, and a range of other mental skills. All this is aimed at helping residents, many of whom have complex needs and are at risk of isolation, social disadvantage and poor mental health.

Just as successful sportsmen and women develop their mental skills to reach new heights in their sport, the programme helps young people develop the mental skills to navigate the job market, build healthy relationships, and manage their mental health.

Read the MST4Life impact case here.



The leading cause of youth homelessness is family breakdown. By helping parents improve relationships in their family, it is possible that many instances of youth homelessness could be prevented.

In collaboration with a local youth homelessness charity, we have developed, delivered and evaluated programmes for parents of adolescents and young adults.

Parents are helped to explore ways to improve relationships, communication skills, and learn about the psychology of adults and young people.

These interactive workshops, developed in collaboration with parents themselves, have been delivered to parents in local communities, as well as employees in NHS hospitals.



Children leaving care are at a significant disadvantage compared to their peers, which particularly affects those who have multiple support needs, such as having mental ill-health, learning disabilities, or experiences in the criminal justice system.

In an effort to improve existing provision for children leaving care services, the Local Government Association (LGA) commissioned us to evaluate the outcomes and processes of a new housing pathway for care leavers with multiple and complex needs

Five young people accepted a placement at a youth homeless housing project, which included support provided by the homelessness charity, such as employability and life skills training, and an opportunity to complete the MST4Life programme.

Findings and recommendations from the project, including a literature review on what factors influence care leaver outcomes, are intended to help local governments make informed decisions to ensure leaving care services are effective and cost-effective.