Blog

Part 1: Our journey to becoming a trauma-informed organisation

Sam Matthews, Director of Delivery
Wednesday 3rd June 2020
Through focusing our work in four key areas – conflict in the community, care, education and the secure estate – our understanding of trauma and the impact of adverse childhood experience on young people has grown significantly over the last two years. Below is Part 1 of a two part series in which our Director for Delivery shares the journey we have been on as an organisation and the new challenges presented by Covid-19." data-share-imageurl="">

Through focusing our work in four key areas – conflict in the community, care, education and the secure estate – our understanding of trauma and the impact of adverse childhood experience on young people has grown significantly over the last two years. Below is Part 1 of a two part series in which our Director for Delivery shares the journey we have been on as an organisation and the new challenges presented by Covid-19.

Perhaps it is fair to say that the third sector is leading the way in adapting services and support for society’s most vulnerable by taking into account the impact of past, and in some instances current, traumatic experiences on an individual’s ability to access and benefit from offers of help. Leap’s way of working has always been structured around a trauma informed and trauma responsive way of thinking.  However, alongside so many other charities as our knowledge and understanding in this area grows, we too are eager to improve our practice. Being trauma responsive is clearly not a destination but very much an ongoing journey. 

To assist us on our journey, we set up a team – a cross section of individuals representing a range of perspectives – who we knew would add value to our thinking and inform our plans. Our task was to systematically examine all aspects of our work:

  • the way we led, supported and communicated with our people
  • how our physical environment was arranged and structured and,
  • most importantly how our work was organised and delivered.

Essentially what we were looking for was knowledge and understanding – a way of bringing about a change in thinking which would become the very fibre and backbone of our organisation.  We called it becoming more trauma informed, but as our work progressed, we soon realised that we were embarking on a journey of change which would change us as an organisation as much as it did our service.

The change that the pandemic brought about in all our lives

One of the very last meetings I attended in our North London office was for the purpose of tackling our planning around this crucial topic of trauma.  We were striving to disentangle what we needed to ‘know or understand’ from how we wanted to ‘respond or act’ – a task which can seem quite tricky when applying this way of thinking to something that was already quite established.

I won’t even begin to try and describe those first few days and weeks soon after lockdown as so many others have already done, perhaps so much better than I would hope to for this purpose.  Suffice to say that the experience for me was one of trauma – a feeling of being overwhelmed and out of control, a sense of loss, immobility with a total lack of predictability with seemingly no immediate end in sight.  For many, these are key descriptors of a traumatic experience, alongside other feelings including of lack of safety, loss of connection and strange sequencing of days or time.

Reflection instantly became near impossible as senior managers, trainers and staff organised themselves around survival and adapting as quickly as we could in order that our response had meaning and was able to add value.  Ironically, our focus on trauma ceased, immediately!  It took some weeks before it would begin again.

Now, months into the pandemic, we have had time to regroup and refocus. My next blog will look in more detail at our evolving practice and the adaptations we have made in order to ensure we remain trauma-informed and responsive in a post-Covid world.

Part 2: What does it mean to be trauma informed in a post Covid-19 society?  

If you are a youth professional or organisation interested in participating in one of our online wellbeing sessions and/or our young people and trauma online training, please contact Bethany.roberts@leapcc.org.uk

 

 

More news & blogs

Blog

How do we effectively support vulnerable young people at risk of serious violent crime? In conversation with Jon Yates

By Alicia Edmund, Senior Communications and Policy Officer
Wednesday 1st July 2020
News

Put children and young people at the heart of coronavirus recovery

By Income and External Affairs Team
Tuesday 30th June 2020
News

Reflect, Connect & Direct: Reflection Pack for Prisoners

By Madeleine Weaver - Communications & Policy Officer
Tuesday 23rd June 2020
News

Leap's commitment to combatting racism

By Ben Kernighan, Chief Executive
Thursday 18th June 2020
Blog

Part 2: What does it mean to be trauma-informed in a post Covid-19 society?

By Sam Matthews, Director of Delivery
Monday 8th June 2020
Blog

Coronavirus is also a mental health pandemic

By Kirat Kalyan, Leap Trainer and Mental Health Practitioner
Friday 5th June 2020
Blog

Part 1: Our journey to becoming a trauma-informed organisation

By Sam Matthews, Director of Delivery
Wednesday 3rd June 2020

Sign up for our latest news