This all started with being the youngest of five children and desperately wanting a little brother or sister. My parents decided five children were enough for them but I then enjoyed the arrival of many a baby, child and teenager who joined our family through foster care. My mum and dad started fostering when they got married and before they had their own children. They were the youngest foster carers in the early 1960s as my mum was only 18. Our family have always worked with helping children, families and supporting people through challenging times.
Aged 22, I decided to change career and train in counselling. I worked with adults who were private clients and also through the mental health charity MIND. I then completed further training to specialise in working with young people and this is where I started working at Shireland Collegiate Academy as a volunteer mentor.
Dedicated to safeguarding issues my career progressed rapidly and for several years I provided safeguarding services to over 20 schools and organisations.
As an NSPCC Accredited Safeguarding Trainer and British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) Accredited Person-Centred and Gestalt Therapist, I have held several key positions including; Extended Schools Manager, Children’s Services Manager and Director of Safeguarding for the Shireland Collegiate Academy Trust.
My mum loved sunflowers and one of the very few photos we have of her is standing with a sunflower. She didn’t like having her photo taken so there aren’t very many of her.
She died when I was 21 years old.
My dad then lived for a further 18 years and whilst very poorly in hospital, he spoke with me and told me he loved seeing me because I was his sunshine. Being the youngest of five and having this moment with my dad was very special.
It seemed fitting that when starting my business I use the sunflower within my logo as a bright positive image.
I managed a team of non-teaching safeguarding officers to carry out the front line work whilst I supported and advised Designated Safeguarding Leads (DSLs – the person responsible in every school for safeguarding – often the headteacher) and trained and provided a consultancy service.
I support 20 schools in both the primary and secondary sectors as well as international schools, independent schools, academies and Multi-Academy Trusts.
My approach is all about providing practical advice to enable professionals to fulfil their roles as effectively as possible.
I will cover all policy-related aspects that are appropriate and relevant; however, my focus is always on delivering practical support that will help professionals safeguard vulnerable children and families and achieve the most positive outcomes for all.
This approach has proved successful with the professionals I work with and has been praised by many schools and providers of safeguarding services. The biggest testament to my approach is the continual work I receive from clients and the constant recommendations I receive.
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