Standing in the Gap

Standing in the Gap

At a glance


  • Children / families
  • Mental health

Other details

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Geographical remit: 


Standing in the Gap is an early intervention mental health charity based in North Oxfordshire, helping pre-school and primary school children manage big emotions, such as fear, anxiety, anger and grief. 

The last ten years has seen a significant decrease in the support available to families, the waiting time for Child and Adolescent Mental health services (CAMHS) is now four years. We work to bridge the gap in child mental health support with a programme of evidence-based workshops and resources, designed and facilitated by an experienced health practitioner to support struggling children and their families. With the right support children and their families can work through potentially long term emotional and mental health issues, in a way that enables children to become emotionally well and flourish. We have also been running a very successful pilot supporting children and families on a one to one basis when things become overwhelming.

We offer face to face talks at community venues and talks locally. We also offer online workshops which are open to all. We have had a good uptake both nationally in the UK, but also internationally.

Our support makes a difference to children and families. Parents told us:

One Mum completed the evaluation at the end of a session of support and her concern level had gone from a 5 (very concerned) to a 1 (I’m happy they are ok). She rated our interventions as Excellent and said “Amazing results from Sam, she listened to our concerns and acted on all of them, we have seen such an amazing difference, thank you so much”


We provide a series of workshops for children and families:

  • Managing Anxiety in 4- 11 year olds. This is available monthly, either at a school or community venue locally or online. Often when children become anxious its hard to know what to do for the best. Do we ignore it, reassure them or hope its a phase they will grow out of? Updated for 2022: the first 20 mins of the workshop are aimed at the kids (parents can listen in) and then we explain in fuller detail for the parents. This is very popular 100% of parents would recommend this to another parent. 
  • Understanding your four year old & getting them ready for school.  Starting school is a big event for both Children and Parents. This workshop is aimed at parents and looks at: What is normal physical and emotional development for 4 year old’s; It considers temperament, explains self esteem and how to raise it and reviews how to give constructive and useful praise; Looks at how children’s brains develop and how by playing the long game you can effectively choose your battles; Explains why little things can cause huge meltdowns, and how these can be avoided; Demonstrates ways you can help your child to understand and manage their big emotions; Considers separation anxiety advising on what works and what doesn’t.
  • Preparing your child for Secondary School. This is aimed at year 6 students and their parents.This practical talk looks at the both parent and student worries about this transition. It gives techniques that help manage the wobbles, looks at making friends and has lots of practical hints and tips to make the transition as smooth as possible

All our workshops have accompanying resource packs to purchase and help support families.

By the end of 2022 we will also have launched a new workshop called: Managing Anger

We provide evidence based information, videos and worksheets around the important areas of:

  • Managing Grief:  Having a loved one die is never easy. Sometimes we don’t know what to say, what to do and what can help…. that’s why we have written this series of videos and the beautiful ‘Teddy with the Hole in its Heart’ book. We want to enable you and your child to understand what grief is and give you skills to work through the grieving process together.
  • Managing stress: We all know life can be tough, but why is it the small things that often cause the meltdowns? Watch our video and use the worksheet to help you understand your stress bucket
  • Whats normal? Parents told us they didn’t know what was normal physical and emotional development for their children. So… how could they tell if there was a problem? Also they asked who should they go to for help? and what behaviour is a concern and shouldn’t be ignored? We wanted to empower parents to understand and help their children, so have created a series of videos looking at children aged 2-11 years.
  • Raising self esteem: We do know that children with high self esteem don’t get bullied and don’t join gangs. But what do we mean by self esteem and how can we raise it? Also how can we praise children to raise their self esteem and not increase their anxiety? Do watch the video and access the accompanying worksheet for more information
  • Understanding temperament & what makes children all different: we can start to understand children by looking at their temperament. A child’s temperament influences how they think, behave and react to circumstances. Temperament is the building blocks of personality and describes a child’s behavioural style. Temperament is made up of nine different traits. Try out our quiz to understand your child better.

We have a small, but very effective, pilot project offering 121 support to families before they hit crisis.

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