Big Up Your CHESS - Project Details

A Free Scholarship programme for young black, African, Caribbean, and Asian people of colour aged between 18 and 24.

Big Up Your CHESS is a Free programme for young people of colour living in Newham, Hackney and Tower Hamlets. The programme is fully funded by East London NHS Foundation Trust and designed and delivered by the Urban Mindfulness Foundation. The programme consists of an 8-week mindfulness-based educational journey that we take and create together to deepen our social, cultural, emotional, cognitive and critical thinking skills required to connect and flourish with purposeful potential and compassionate action in broader society

Apply for your Free scholarship here

Some of what we will cover?
    • An exploration of a culturally relevant mindfulness practice 
    • An exploration of mindfulness tools for navigating stress, anxiety, and the difficult emotions people face due to marginalisation.
    • An exploration of how mindfulness meets our ability to collaborative and create an mindful artistic expression of what it is to embrace the diversity of urban life.
    • The co-creation of an ejoyable programme that connects young people through healthy community engagement and practice.
What will be the highlights:
    • At the end of the course we will have a closing rewards ceremony and social event
    • Free group activities/ trips as agreed and co-created by the group.
    • We will also have guest speakers, spoken word artists and entertainers to get our creative joices flowing.
    • We will try some mindful african drumming, a sound bath and mindful movement
    • We will also have a resident Grime Beats music director and producer and videographer to hand to capture the journey and facilitate the artistic piece the group chosen to create.

All courses start late Spring 2024

Why this Project?

The complex combination of racism and classism has resulted in embedded social constructs that divide communities, societies and nations into racial and social hierarchical power structures that still cause significant harm today.

This project therefore aims to support individuals who are at the highest risk of experiencing the structural harms that lead to hospitalisation and poor mental health and wellbeing who are specifically, aged between 18 and 24 from the black, African, Caribbean, Asian, people of colour communities. Please see NICE quality standard 167 that underpins the rational for this intervention.  

The primary objective of the project is to equip our young people with the necessary knowledge, skills, and emotional resilience to address instances of racism and classism in compassionately active ways.

Participants will also be encouraged to explore the importance of cross-cultural collaboration, which is essential if we are to address the issues of racism and inequality collectively in urban communities.


Who is the programme for?


  • Young people aged 18 to 24 from the Black African, Caribbean and Asian People of Colour communities (BAPOC) who live in Newham, Tower Hamlets and Hackney.
  • Those from the above communities who are interested in mindful leadership and community development and contemproary collaborative artistic expression.
  • Those who would like to make new friends around a healthy new habit and community of practice framework.
Don’t be put off by the CHESS acronym Family!

This is not a chess club! and no knowledge or interest in CHESS is necessary. We acknowledge and use the game of CHESS as a metaphor for life and its twists and turns. How we choose to play the game of life is important and this programme offers the opportunity for us to explore what choosing, Health, Education and Strategic Solidarity or (CHESS) might look like.

How will the project meet its intentions?
  • It will provide a small group of at least 40 young people from BAPOC communities across each of the boroughs of Newham, Tower Hamlets and Hackney with key mindfulness skills and the inspiration to share those skills with others for the health and well-being within BAPOC communities and wider society.
  • The project will provide a space of psychological safety where young people can attend regular drop-in classes and meditation sessions, talks, events and activities that are culturally relevant and designed to promote healing through healthy social connection.
  • The project will also help develop bridges between grassroots communities, statutory health care and community support services through collaborative initiatives and guest speakers and presentations that inspire young people.
  • Build young people’s soft skills to support participants seeking employment and opportunities in mindfulness
  • Participants will feel that mindfulness practice is helping them to flourish in everyday home life
  • Graduates of the course will know how to lead basic mindfulness practice in a culturally relevant and community-focused way