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Pause

What is Pause?
Pause works with women who have experienced, or are at risk of, repeat removals of children from their care. We do this by creating a space for women to change.

We allow time for them to focus on themselves and this can sometimes be the first time they have ever had the opportunity to do that. Every person we work with is treated as an individual and by building relationships underpinned by trust and respect, we support the women to re-build their lives, their self-esteem and develop their aspirations.

We offer a combination of therapeutic, practical and emotional support tailored around each woman’s needs. Each woman co-designs their own plan by working with their Practitioner to focus on and prioritise their own goals, which are then regularly reviewed and adapted.

Pause aims to break the cycle of repeat removal by intervening at a point when the women have no children in their care. We know that women are often dealing with many issues including domestic abuse, substance misuse and mental health issues but we work to give them the opportunity to focus on themselves.

We provide a trauma-informed package of care and support over an 18-month period. This This allows women to develop new skills and responses that can help them create a more positive future. To do this, they are required to take the most effective form of reversible contraception during the intervention, thereby creating a space to pause, reflect, learn and aspire.

Successes so far
Over the last two years, St Helens has had some great success and as such we have been granted further funding to support and change the lives of more women and families in our borough.


Each woman who completes the programme gets the chance to celebrate their success with a graduation event. Various outcomes have been achieved locally eg improvements with confidence, self worth, self esteem, housing, relationships, health and recovery from loss.

Congratulations to all!

According to the most recently available statistics that measure deprivation across the country, St Helens is the 36th most deprived area out of 326.

Most indicators look at:
• Low income
• Poor employment
• Poor health and disability
• Education, skills and training opportunities
• Barriers to housing and services
• Living environment deprivation
• Crime rates

However, in order to be chosen to pilot this innovative scheme, back in 2017, the number of children in need, Looked After Children and children subject to Child Protection Plans was also taken into account. 
St Helens has (based on the most recently available figures from November 2019):

  • 534 Looked After Children

The Pause programme continues to be evaluated externally by an independent study, commissioned by the Department For Education. Early indications from the phase 2 findings (due to be published March 2020) suggest that the positive outcomes being achieved nationally are being mirrored locally by the St Helens project.

If you have had a child or children removed from your care within the last five years and are still able to have children, but currently have no children in your care, then this may be an option for you.

Every woman who embarks on their individual journey with us has different reasons for starting, different goals they'd like to achieve and unique ways in which they will get there. We provide women with the chance to take part in various local and national opportunities to learn about themselves, have their voices heard and to feel a more significant part of their own community.

Pause takes a holistic and systemic approach to practice and we will support any other members of the woman's family/network if she asks us to. We promote a strength-based approach, and all the team are trained in the 'signs of safety' model for supporting families.

We offer 1-1 support throughout, we are completely free and we are NOT part of social services.

If you'd like to know more about the service you can contact us by calling 01744 673390 or email us at pause@sthelens.gov.uk.
One of our team can chat to you and find out whether this is the right place for you.



Meet the Team (L-R)
Sonia Rylands is a Practitioner and has worked with Looked After Children and Young People in a variety of settings for over 20 years. Sonia is passionate about helping women regain control of their lives.

Kelly Cox is the Practice Lead and has over 20 years' experience working with Looked After Children, as well as adults and young people who have come into contact with the criminal justice system. Kelly is committed to doing things differently to empower women to achieve their full potential.

Ann Gillon is our Coordinator. Ann worked in the Finance industry in the private sector for 16 years before joining St Helens Council 11 years ago to work in Children’s Services. Ann enjoys being able to support our Practitioners to help women meet their goals.

Kath Seabrook is a Practitioner has over 10 years' experience working with children and families in the community as well as domestic abuse services. Kath is passionate about providing a different service where women can lead the way with their own goal setting.

Penny Upton is a Practitioner who has experience of youth work and children's social care. Penny is passionate about empowering women to create and sustain change to achieve their goals.

Please feel free to download our leaflet.

You can refer yourself if, after looking at the criteria in the 'Is it for me?' tab, you feel you may be suitable.

Alternatively, if you are working with a woman within St Helens who you feel fits the criteria, then please get in touch.

Referrals will only stay open as long as we have places available, and we will operate a waiting list at peak referral times.