Safeguarding is high on the agenda for any organisation, group or social club coming into contact with families children and young people. Up to date polices provide a framework for working, a checklist for best practice and guidance to ensure that staff know their roles and responsibilities.
Putting those policies into practice, staff will be required to undertake quality safeguarding training that is both up to date, and relevant to your organisation and the service it provides.
Equipping staff with skills knowledge and confidence to respond to the safeguarding concerns will no doubt help to improve the health and wellbeing of children and families – however for some time now we have excluded from our safeguarding and training strategies the very people who are our biggest assets – The Community.
If you have not considered the importance of including communities in your own training needs strategies, take 5 mins to read the following and consider if the effectiveness of your service would be improved by including
Training for The Community – Your biggest assets in Safeguarding Children
1. Communities have excellent “opening hours” and rarely close
One of the biggest criticisms of many support services are the limiting aspects of a 9 to 5 approach. Crisis or chaos within a family does not occur at convenient
times to suit our workplace hours. The times when parents struggle the most and are in need of a sympathetic ear or a hand to look after the kids will be outside of those office hours . Breakfast time , before the school run is frequently a time of increased stress . The chaos of early evening with meals to prepare, and homework to complete will be when arguments happen and parenting is tested to the limit . Stress that causes parents to feel inadequate is likely to occur during the busiest time of the family schedule. Rather than support being needed 9 to 5 chances are stress will be highest at bedtime when parents and kids are tired patience runs dry and families struggle to maintain routine. Communities provide that “out of hours” support at times when struggling families need it the most. It’s friends and family who are at the end of the phone or available to pop round for a brew during the ‘out of office hours ‘ . A welcome support that is rarely acknowledged .
2. Communities build relationships & trust
Despite the loneliness of modern living and the fact that we don’t always know what ‘goes on behind closed doors’ there is still an element of unity within our local communities.
You may consider it gossip, concern, or simply taking a neighbourly interest but by and large in close knit communities people do tend to look out for one another .Joined together by geographical area or by common interest such as Women’s Groups, Recovery groups or sports clubs, people are often aware of the ups and downs, the struggles within a family long before services are alerted.
Despite increased effort from services to counteract the stigma there is a still a huge reluctance from many folk to engage with family support services on a voluntary basis.
Whether that’s because of their own experience or from the experiences of their peers and other family members the fact remains that for some, services will NOT be their first port of call. It will be community members, families and neighbours who will often be the first people they speak to when they are facing difficulties with family life and emotional wellbeing.
3. Communities are the first to know when families need support
Members of our communities whether they are neighbours, local postwoman, window cleaner or taxi service picking up Mrs Jones for weekly bingo at the community hall, are often the first to spot when something is “not quite right” for a family. From visible signs of poverty to local hearsay about changes in behaviour or routine it is our community members who are often the first to recognise when families might need a bit of extra support.
4. Communities speak the same language
Without assessment tools, risk and safety protocols and the barriers created by “professional speak” communities will dive head first into supporting our most vulnerable
in society . Through simple words, a listening ear and a safe space it is our communities who will often enable parents and children to open up about their difficulties. Communities have that ability to uncover more by chatting over 2 cups of tea and a plate of chocolate digestives than most professionals would hope to discover from an 8 page assessment form . Despite the huge network of services surrounding children and families it is often the case that families in need will trust their own peer groups within their communities before the professionals
5. Communities are vigilant to families in crisis
It is often neighbours who are the first to alert services when they believe a family is in crisis. Whether there is a suspicion of domestic violence, child neglect or deteriorating mental health a high percentage of calls to Social Services already come from Community members. It is extremely worrying for services if people disengage from support once concerns have been raised. When those same families also disengage from their own networks its can be an indication that a family situation is deteriorating and children maybe at higher risk. All the more reason for services to have much stronger links to the wider communities. As we have seen time and again within Serious Case reviews, without direct contact from members of local communities social services are not alerted to a crisis until it becomes a tragedy.
6. Communities are the final piece in the jigsaw of sharing information
For many years, multi agency safeguarding training has reiterated the need for information sharing, joint working and
agreed protocols to improve the safeguarding of children and families. When discussing Safeguarding we often refer to the analogy of the “jigsaw puzzle” in multi agency working . Each organisation providing their own piece of the information puzzle to provide a clearer picture of the extent of concerns. We already know that communities are often the missing piece in that puzzle and much weight is given to those organisations that can engage with and involve communities in the safeguarding process.
When you consider how much communities have to offer when it comes to safeguarding we have to ask
- Why aren’t we training our communities more – raising awareness of services and referral pathways?
- Why don’t we routinely afford quality Safeguarding training to our Communities in the same way we would to any other referral agency?
- Why are we not increasing skills and knowledge of our communities, building stronger relationships and learning from them as the undeniable asset they are for our safeguarding strategies
It is so important for organisations to have an ongoing training strategy to increase the safeguarding skills of the workforce. In considering the 6 points raised here its clear to see that it is equally important to value the relationships that exist outside the professional arena. Community members are the eyes and ears of services and as such its imperative that organisation consider the needs of the community when raising awareness of safeguarding issues.
Only when organisations consider parents, neighbours, church members, siblings and other family members in training strategies can ALL the pieces of the “jigsaw of concern” come together . Training in Safeguarding, referral processes and local services is already mandatory for staff teams. However in considering your training strategies and who are your priority delegates for recieiving training its important to remember that when it comes to safeguarding
Community members are your biggest asset
Find out how you can improve health and involve local communities in your safeguarding strategy
Contact Deb at Purple Bee Training on 07806780161 firstname.lastname@example.org
Announcing Purple Bee Training and the first of many blogs about Addiction Recovery and Safeguarding
I thought it was about time I tried to coordinate my thoughts and ideas with a regular blog and what better time than now to also announce the new name for my business :
“Purple Bee Training”
I have worked in the Addictions field for 20 years or more and for the last 7 years I have been a freelance Trainer working independently, as an Associate and taking on joint projects with other freelancers such the fabulous Michaela Jones of In2Recovery I have mostly used my own name or DDTC (Deb Drinkwater Training & Consultancy) when promoting my work but 7 years on – it was time to reflect and the new name is simply me polishing up my business life including branding and this blog. Result was Purple Bee Training . Apart from having a lovely ring to it there is a bit of a story behind the name – let me tell you more ;
The name didn’t come to me immediately in a flash of inspiration, it took a fair few doodles , deliberations and deletions before the pen formed around the name.;
But as soon as it was manifested I just had this gut feeling that it was the right one .
“Purple Bee Training”
Never one to trust instinct alone I paused to think if the choice of words was totally random or if it did have some relevance to me and sure enough it did !!
Firstly why purple you might ask .. well I chose to give up booze 10 years ago – best choice I ever made – and since then Recovery is part of who I am and what I do and as Purple is THE colour of Recovery it was ideal that purple figured somewhere in the name or branding – so one tick of approval to instinct there .
Secondly My name “Deborah” means Bee in Hebrew, so thats pretty darn significant. Added to that revelation the fascinating bee is officially the symbol of Manchester , I am really pleased that my pondering took me in the direction of the bee.
Not sure if you have spotted the bees but if you look closely you literally see them everywhere across the city.
As a working class lass who is proud of her Northern roots I am so very pleased to see that the fascinating worker bee represents Manchester’s hardworking industrious past .
So my instinct and logic satisfied, I looked for a little more approval from a select group of “WhatAppers” and with a resounding nod the name was given .
There is still a bit of work to do on the branding and you may see some tweaks and changes to the site over the coming weeks, but the name itself
“Purple Bee Training”
is here to stay. The blog itself will cover many different issues relating to Addictions, Recovery Training and Peer support with a focus on families parenting and Safeguarding . There may be some deviation from that – as this years Training programme is developed but these areas are where we begin our journey in 2017 . Look forward to linking with you