PRAYER spaces in schools have helped encourage positive mental health in young people, according to pupils who have been involved in a project promoting them.

Four Church of England secondary schools in the Diocese of Durham were involved in the "reservoirs of hope" project, which started in February.

The prayer spaces were set up in The Venerable Bede Church of England Academy in Sunderland, Ian Ramsey Church of England Academy in Stockton, Whitburn Church of England Academy in Sunderland and St Aidan’s Church of England Academy in Darlington.

Phil Togwell, director of prayer spaces in schools, who has been leading the project, said pupils' responses to the project had included feeling there was a need to spread hope and that collective working could encourage positive mental health.

Headteacher Gill Booth said: “This has been a tremendous success. The prayer spaces were set up and run by teams of young people and formed a place for students to be quiet and reflect on their lives, school and be to explore prayer in a variety of creative ways."

"Each school was left to decide how they would roll out the prayer space, the time, location, space and year group focus.”

Andy Harris, diocesan leader of youth mission and ministry said: “Each of the schools gave an account on what had been achieved in their schools using a variety of presentation materials but all with a clear passion for the outcome. The enthusiasm for prayer was really infectious - it was a great morning of celebration and sharing.”