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Bolton in partnership for children and young people

Bolton in Partnership Interview Header Image

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We recognise how important cross-sector working is for suicide prevention, so we are excited to see what Bolton is achieving. Working through our Partnership Licence, STORM training is being delivered to facilitators in each Bolton Safeguarding Children Partnership organisation.

We spoke to Children & Maternity Commissioning Manager Sarah Whitehead from NHS Bolton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), as well as Multi-Agency Training Officer Nick Howarth from Bolton Safeguarding Children Partnership, about their joint delivery of STORM training to organisations in Bolton working with children and young people (CYP). STORM training is funded by NHS Bolton CCG and is planned and delivered through Nick’s CYP network, at no additional cost to those organisations.

As Children and Maternity commissioning manager, Sarah’s role was crucial in committing to support children and young people’s mental health. When Sarah joined the Children and Maternity Commissioning Team in 2017, she realised that the STORM license needed to be renewed, so the opportunity was there to reinvigorate training for every CYP organisation across Bolton. Nick is the training co-ordinator for the Bolton Safeguarding Partnership, so he holds the networks, contacts and registration systems to reach and engage the right people to come on board.

“We are now able to offer STORM training to any professional who works with children and young people in Bolton. Reaching diverse organisations has been made possible through Nick’s contacts and co-ordination - this has been key to successfully rolling the training out.”

Sarah Whitehead Commissioning Manager (Children & Maternity), NHS Bolton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG)
    The team is planning the next twelve months of delivery. Sarah and Nick are keen to ensure as many parts of the system as possible have access to STORM through the Partnership Licence agreement. This allows facilitators to train as part of Nick’s multi-agency training programme, as well as to then train others within their own organisation.

    “It has been important to make the training as accessible as possible to all professionals in Bolton’s CYP system. So, we have two day or full day face to face sessions, online trainer led sessions through to twenty-minute e-learning modules available. At our last training sessions, we had representatives from domestic violence organisations, Bolton Lads and Girls Club, schools and others”

    Nick Howarth Multi-Agency Training Officer, Bolton Safeguarding Children Partnership
      The challenges faced by Sarah and Nick will be familiar to other licensees, in ensuring people are committed to their role as facilitators and understand what is expected of them in this role. The increase in distress over lockdown has led to more interest and engagement from CYP organisations.

      “In Bolton, there is certainly more of a spotlight on self-harm and suicide prevention now. There has been a significant increase in self harm presentations in A&E departments in addition to our local Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) and Kooth data. Education settings are expressing concerns too, which is why we developed a local self-harm pathway and continue to invest in this training.”

      Sarah Whitehead Commissioning Manager (Children & Maternity), NHS Bolton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG)

        With the return of face-to-face training, local organisations can network and share their own unique perspectives and learning too. All in all, the partnership licence arrangement is helping to bring together diverse organisations all with the same aim – to protect and support Bolton’s children and young people.

        We asked Sarah and Nick to finish with some top tips for other areas considering a partnership approach to skills training.

        1. If an area has an embedded training approach/team – link in with something already in existence. The CCG doesn’t have a model of cascading training, so we wouldn’t have been able to be as successful doing this alone. Be aware of and access what is already being delivered.


        2. Be clear on the commitment needed. Make sure that facilitators are aware of what the training entails and what the expectations are afterwards – don’t assume they know.


        3. Building relationships takes time. We constantly promote the mental health offer across Bolton and what training is available to partners; for example while we always had strong relationships from a health perspective, we had to work harder to link with education to understand their experiences of supporting children with mental health difficulties. Those relationships have really grown over the past couple of years.

        It’s great to see STORM training being used for a vehicle to bring people together across different organisation to help and support young people. There are new examples of partnership licenses coming on board all the time – to find out more send us an email.

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