Super Brain Heroes: Stortford dad Paul Richmond's brainwave is animated health and wellbeing videos for kids featuring cartoon characters named after parts of the brain
A Bishop's Stortford dad is on a mission to help children understand the importance of looking after their physical and mental wellbeing – with the aid of cartoon brain characters.
Father-of-three Paul Richmond, 47, founder and chief executive of Super Brain Heroes, will be premièring his animated video at Windhill21 once pupils return to the Bishop's Stortford primary school at the end of lockdown.
The aim is to teach children how they can play their part in curbing the spread of Covid-19 – although Paul has been working on his educational programme for around four years, long before the coronavirus crisis. "Covid unfortunately has become such a priority that we diverted what we were planning to accommodate that," he said.
Super Brain Heroes is a series of health and wellness animated videos which show children how to improve their mental, emotional and physical health. "After many years of research and study we are now creating a programme that focuses on eight pillars that provide a solid foundation for children's happiness, health and education," said Paul.
The videos will be rolled out to Windhill21 pupils from March. "The goal is to help our future generations understand how important it is to care for their brain and cells," he said.
"This will help reduce the huge challenges we have at the moment with diabetes, obesity, degenerative brain disorders, tooth decay, mental health issues, heart disease and cancers in early and later years of life."
The programme features around 30 characters, each named after a part of the brain, including The Neurons, Hippocampus, Thalamus, Amygdala, Corpus Callosum, Medulla, Astrocytes and Microglia.
All three of Paul's children feature as voice actors in the series. Ashleigh, 7, a pupil at Windhill21, is Neuron, Birchwood student Jimi, 11, is Hippocampus while Jessica, 15, has been cast as villainous Misinformation. Their neighbour's daughter, Isabel Knight, is Amygdala.
Paul was inspired to create Super Brain Heroes while helping Jessica with her homework. He was on gardening leave between jobs in the City and started using mnemonic devices to help her remember algebraic formulae.
He thought it would be fantastic if a programme existed to help youngsters understand their brains and how best to feed them, so he started sketching out characters.
Paul worked on his business idea around his Canary Wharf job and family life, but in January 2019 wife Louise suffered a health scare.
She suffers from Addison's disease, meaning her body does not produce enough of certain hormones, and she was rushed to hospital. She has recovered and is able to manage her condition, but it caused Paul to reassess his work-life balance. He wanted to spend more time with his family and decided to throw everything into Super Brain Heroes.
He works on the programme from home in Thorley Park with the help of colleagues working remotely from all over the world; childhood friend Darren Clarke is an artist based in Spain, another member of the small team lives in Pakistan while another hails from India.
Paul, who is also a musician who counts Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson' among his admirers, hopes Windhill21 will be the first of many schools to show Super Brain Heroes.
The videos are available in interactive or non-interactive versions and come with skilfully designed worksheets.
"I've contacted the Education Secretary [Gavin Williamson] and other members of government to try to get this to as many schools as possible," Paul said.
There is also scope to reach children across the globe as Paul plans to translate the programme into many languages.
Visit www.superbrainheroes.com to find out more.