In 1986 I started my work with disadvantaged young people as Founder and Director of a project based in London, providing accommodation and other support for young homeless people who were living on the streets of London. I took in the first young person - a 16 year old runaway from Nottingham - in May 1988 and managed the project for another 11 years, before handing it on to a team I had trained to take over.
In those 11 years I set up three accommodation units as well as a drop-in coffee bar. Many young people passed through the accommodation and on into productive lives, and many more non-residents were helped through the coffee bar with services such as food, clothes washing, shower facilities, job and accommodation searching and, perhaps the most important service, knowing that they were no longer alone and uncared for.
My first foray into schools’ work was as a Teaching Assistant in 1995 whilst still running the homeless project. My aim was to start work in schools with young people before they reached the stage of running away, or being thrown out of their home, and ending up on the streets. It quickly became obvious that working as a TA was too restrictive in terms of providing the imaginative and flexible support that the troubled teenagers needed.
So in 1999, when I handed over the homeless project to the team, I set up the company that became SEED to help teenage school pupils with serious and disruptive behavioural and
emotional difficulties, including those at risk of exclusion and those already excluded. My
company placed our staff in secondary schools across London and the Home Counties, as well as
working with other agencies.
I wrote an anger management course that was subsequently bought by around 300 schools around the UK and used by thousands of teenagers, and I also wrote a course on Raising Self-esteem that was successfully used with thousands of teenagers, both by my own staff and by schools across the UK who bought the material.
I trained school staff, including senior management, across the UK in various topics around behaviour management & modification and wrote a variety of training presentations, ranging from one hour presentations to full days of INSET training.
In 2001 I was responsible for setting up the Challenger project for Merton LEA in south London, as a last opportunity for pupils who were at risk of complete exclusion from mainstream education. Through the successfully implemented Challenger project exclusions were reduced, attendance and academic results were improved, conflicts with peers and staff were reduced - and these improvements often resulted in better relationships within the family home.
I also took individual referrals, and worked with private clients including referrals from Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital (International & Private Patients' Unit).
Between 2006 and 2009 I used the SEED material, in conjunction with Devon & Cornwall Police, to work with teenagers who had been identified as being at risk of falling into crime.
Between 2014 and 2016 I worked with teenagers in residential care homes, and when I used the SEED material with the young residents they engaged and responded very positively.
I now operate SEED as a training company to support School staff, Foster and Residential Carers and professionals across the UK as they seek to support young people.