Annual Reconnector Day – North Wales 28th June 2017

This time we invited trained companions and a small number of other professionals who have shown an interest at being involved in the future.  This was necessary this time, due to some imminent staff changes on the horizon and so needing to generate new interest with people who can help us take the programme forward.  In total 34 people attended the day from both Central and West regions of North Wales and one person joined us from the North West of England.  We were thrilled to see so many people who are equally as keen to ensure that Seasons remains available in the places where they work.  Here are some of the things they said they wanted to get from the day!

  • To reconnect with the programme and to network with other trained companions
  • To update on knowledge, recap on paperwork etc
  • New ideas
  • To check in.. “Am I doing it right?”
  • Complexity of some of the young people in groups, to share and meet others who may have similar experiences
  • To learn about timing and content of group. To talk about the flexibility of the programme and how much it can be adapted to suit the needs of the group, whilst not losing the validity of the content.

Participants added their own views to the end of the first presentation regarding challenges, achievements and what keeps them motivated to stay involved

Some of the challenges noted:

  • Communication between Companions, trainers and the central office was noted as not being reliable and so companions had often felt isolated and not as supported as they have done in the past
  • Sometimes hard to engage both parents and school staff
  • Helping the school to decide on the intervention with so many new initiatives being introduced all the time.
  • Fitting it in – lots of pressure on time
  • Resources
  • Materials and the programme not being bilingual. In an area were Welsh is the first language.
  • Unrealistic expectations from other professionals with regards to what Seasons can do/achieve
  • Recruiting the right children to the group.
  • Getting children to the venue – in areas that are rural and those needing to attend do not all attend the same school
  • Money/budgets
  • Good communication channels with Parents – not always easy.

 Some of the achievements noted:

  • Rewarding … IT WORKS!
  • Child friendly and a robust programme
  • Companions enjoy doing it!
  • Children respond really well to it
  • Children are heard – gives them a voice
  • Cost effective
  • Reduces the isolation of loss, realise that other children have similar experiences
  • Normalises the process of loss
  • The simile on children’s faces  – empowering and fun

What life events have led the young people to join a Seasons Group:

  • Trauma
  • Parent in prison
  • Domestic Violence
  • Being looked After
  • Adopted
  • Sensory losses/ serious illness
  • Parent with Physical or mental illness
  • Parent with substance misuse
  • Transition: home and/or school
  • Losses that are unspoken/secretive
  • Loss of Pet
  • Sibling illness
  • A young parent who lost her child into the care system
  • Suicide of family member
  • Parent living away and/or in the forces

Evaluations and feedback from the day:

  • 100% of evaluations scored the day as good or Excellent with regards to the aims and focus of the day and the day in general.
  • Some common themes of what  people noted as positive
    • The new website
    • The new version (3): updated materials now available
    • Informal, relaxed and informative
    • An explanation as to the lack of support
    • Seeing the bigger picture and feeling motivated for the future
    • Re-focused
    • Networking and getting back in touch with people and the programme
    • The ACE’s presentation looking at the adverse effects of loss

 Some common themes of what people would have like to have seen done differently

  • Better IT and for the Wi Fi to work
  • More comfortable chairs
  • To move around the groups and interact with each other a bit more

Some suggestions for future training days:

  • More training on the new Website, once it is up and running
  • A CPD session on trauma and the complexities for looked after children
  • To have time to discuss best practice from each school/organisation
  • To make a plan to re-launch Seasons in schools, so people are reminded that it is still being delivered

Shared information of some key changes and some new/updated local contacts: