Old American school bus to help north London schools find their zen

Kids sat on the bus for the Now and Beyond Festival

Alessandra & Santiago, children of one of the Zen Project instructors, aboard the bus at the Bigfoot festival in the summer of 2021 - Credit: Brian Whiting

A converted American school bus is going to be visiting north London schools during Children’s Mental Health Week to deliver much-needed mindfulness to attendees. 

Dubbed the Zen Den, it will stop off at sites including Hawley Primary School, in Camden; Westminster Academy in Harrow Road; and St Claudine’s Catholic School for Girls, in Harlesden, as part of the youth mental health festival Now and Beyond. 

Pupils and teachers will be treated to 11-minute mindfulness workshops, run by the Zen Project. The workshops will involve a range of activities such as guided meditation and yoga. 

Now and Beyond will take place on February 9, during Children’s Mental Health week, which runs from February 7-12. 

Produced by youth mental health charity Beyond and its media partner TES, the festival was created by Beyond CEO Louise Rose as a response to the pandemic’s impact on youth mental health.  

NHS Digital data from 2020 highlighted that one in six young people have a diagnosable mental health problem, and a 2021 Education Support survey found that 77% of education staff suffer from symptoms of poor mental health due to their work.

First held in February 2021, this year's Now and Beyond will include classes on mindfulness and mental health wellbeing by guests including Joe Wicks, Kate Silverton, Dr Ranj and Carrie Grant MBE.  

Most Read

Louisa, who lives in Hampstead Garden Suburb, said: “We designed Now and Beyond after seeing the impact that the pandemic was having – and is still having – on young people, but what fills me with hope is the sense of community and togetherness that the festival brings.  

“Seeing our UK-wide mental health and wellbeing friends coming together and delivering something so powerful to those who need it the most is a really profound experience. To be able to plan an actual in-person element this year is so exciting.  

“The minute we came across the Zen Project we knew it was the perfect organisation to collaborate with. Their creativity in how they deliver wellbeing is something that resonates with us; it's bold and ambitious – like Beyond.  

“I can't wait to meet the students and teachers in person and see the impact that Corinne and Kaye's (the Zen Project’s founders) sessions will have on them first hand.”