Best place to find information and services that your council provides...
Article date - 09 November 2018
Pause St Helens, a joint venture between the charity Pause and St Helens Council, is the first Pause practice to launch a pilot programme in Merseyside working with women who have experienced, or are at risk of, repeat removals of children from their care. Pause aims to break the cycle of repeat removal by intervening at a point when the women have no children in their care.
At a recent celebration event, several local women who have been supported through the service talked openly about their pasts and their positive experiences with Pause.
St Helens’ Mayor, Councillor Pat Ireland, who welcomed attendees to the event said: “I’m proud as Mayor to know that St Helens is leading the way in the North West with this innovative and compassionate, supportive practice.”
“Pause asks women to be brave when starting with the service, and these women have demonstrated that, through their commitment to their own development and the programme”.
“In bringing all our partner agencies together, the event also demonstrates that with strong collaboration between responsible organisations, we can really make a difference to the lives of vulnerable people and those in need.”
A team of five staff recruited into the St Helens Pause Practice work intensively with local women to build therapeutic relationships underpinned by trust and respect, supporting women to rebuild their lives, their self-esteem and develop their aspirations. The programme enables the practice and partner agencies to take a systemic and trauma-informed approach to helping the women achieve goals and overcome barriers.
Pause St Helens helps women to find the time to focus on themselves. To do this, they agree to take a pause from pregnancy by deciding to use an effective form of long-acting, reversible contraception during their 18 months on the programme, thereby creating a space to reflect, learn and aspire.
Currently 21 local women are engaged in the programme, with none of those having become pregnant since joining.
Merseyside’s Deputy Police Commissioner, Councillor Emily Spurrell said: “The women who are being helped through the Pause project have complex needs and are very vulnerable. By providing them with the intensive support they so desperately require to address their issues and make real change in their lives, this project is guiding them to a brighter future, not just for themselves but for their children.”
“This has huge benefits for the families themselves, but also for the wider community and for the local authority and the police who are far less likely to have to intervene.
“This is a hugely important pilot project which has the potential to provide real support and stability, reunite families and save lives. It was heart-warming to meet some of the women who are taking part today and hear their stories of how far they have come. I wish them the very best of luck and I hope to see this project rolled out across the rest of Merseyside.”
The programme also greatly benefits the local authority and the borough with reduced numbers of children being taken into care, and also improves various outcomes including those around housing, health and criminal justice – with the potential to save tax payers millions of pounds a year.
Looking forward, the team hopes to further develop the Pause St Helens offer with more activities for service users, ongoing review and planning for sustainability of the programme. The team will continue to make time for relationship building and collaboration with partner services to strengthen local provisions for women, including the development of a more comprehensive post-Pause support offer for women.
Find out more about Pause online at www.sthelens.gov.uk/pause.