“Following the session, our practitioners agreed it was ‘powerful’, ‘thought-provoking’ and ‘impactful’. I wish we had got Sean and his team in earlier because the feedback we received, and the impact we witnessed, have both been enormously positive.”
– Fiona Colton, Head of Service Early Help at Derby City Council
EMBRACE Case Study : Positive Parenting Conference
Early Help services in Derby are focused on vulnerable families where there is a need for coordinated support from agencies to prevent issues from escalating to the point where families may require statutory Social Care services. We spoke with Fiona to find out how she first met Narrative Alchemy Co-Artistic Director, Sean McGrath – and what her experience of working with him and his team has been like.
How did you first connect with Sean?
I first met Sean in May 2023 at our Positive Parenting conference which was funded by the Department for Work and Pensions. Sean and his team were there to raise awareness around the impacts of parental conflict and engage our practitioners through short scenes that vividly depicted the emotions and challenges faced by children and parents in difficult situations. We had two sessions for practitioners and, despite already having watched the performance in the morning, I was still incredibly moved watching the second session in the afternoon. We were so inspired we got Sean and his team straight back in to do some work with our Family Hub too!
Why was storytelling and drama performance chosen as a method of staff engagement?
Ultimately, we wanted to ensure that those practitioners who were already trained absolutely ‘got it’. By witnessing those moving scenes and performances, and engaging in creative group discussions, our practitioners gained valuable insight into the real-life repercussions of conflict on both child and parental wellbeing. We also wanted to go beyond the classroom and deliver something with real impact – and I’m so pleased to say we got that and much more.
What kind of impact have you seen following the sessions?
I’m delighted to say that we have made our practitioners more confident, and given them a better understanding of what to look out for and the tools and techniques needed to help reduce conflict. Following the session, our practitioners agreed it was “powerful”, “thought-provoking” and “impactful”. I wish we had got Sean and his team in earlier because the feedback we received, and the impact we witnessed, have both been enormously positive.
Do you have plans to continue the momentum and work with Sean in the future?
We absolutely do – we have a meeting in soon with Sean to discuss our Children at Risk of Exploitation (CRE) team’s agenda and the impact we can have on that particular issue. We would love staff in this team to have the same experiences as those at our Positive Parenting conference as I am sure it would resonate with them too. Overall, I would have no hesitation recommending Sean to anyone – he and his team are absolutely excellent!