Trauma and Change with Ryan - part of Stoke on Trent City Council's Festival of Practice



My unique selling point (or USP if you’re ‘down with the kids’) is my ability to ensure my learning and development opportunities express the voices of real people. People with lived experience. Sometimes those voices get shuffled down the pecking order, simply because professionals have louder, more confident voices. Services can learn a great deal from those who have (at times) endured the service or support that was thrown their way. I particularly love sharing the tales of good practice, when professionals went above and beyond.


I recently met Ryan, who sat with me for ninety minutes and shared the story of life on the streets, of the traumatic experiences that happened to him throughout his childhood and also the enduring love he had for his mum. His mum had schizophrenia and because of the failings of ‘the system,’ her complicated and often ‘chaotic life choices’ (oh some professionals love using that one don’t they) his mum often used self-help treatments to soothe and ‘ease the dis-ease’ she felt. This invariably meant alcohol and / or drugs. At no point during our conversation did Ryan blame his mum, criticize her or judge her actions. “When she was well, she was all right my Mum. Sometimes she’d be really well.”


He understood that she was trying to cope in a world that didn’t make sense to her.


This led to Ryan having a difficult childhood. A childhood in which school, education, routine became anathema to him. He learned to cope. He learned that there were others on his estate in similar situations, sometimes worse, sometimes they were much better off. Often times people like Ryan get ignored, their traumatic start in life and subsequent actions lead them to being stigmatized and / or labelled. Ryan’s story is incredibly moving, uplifting and courageous. He changed when he knew he had to change, when things had become totally intolerable for him. He made those positive changes by getting to know himself.


By returning to the Ryan that could have been and now is.


Ryan really is inspirational.


I will soon be delivering my ‘Trauma and Change’ training to staff from Stoke-on-Trent City Council. This will be at their superb ‘Festival of Practice.’ Yes, my old stomping ground. I love assisting Stoke Council, especially as they have always been wonderfully supportive to me. When I first ventured into the wide world on my lonesome it was Stoke that compiled a database of local and not so local organisations that might benefit from my input. It was Stoke who mentioned me to several other local authorities, housing associations and charities and I repay them by always being on hand to assist, devise and deliver Stoke-centric bespoke learning for their troops.


I have invested a great deal of time and energy in the training and I hope, Ryan, Christine, Shakil, Emma, Mary, Charlotte, Rav and everyone else involved in the creation of the course will inform and educate the learners, and yes, entertain them too. After all, when you are enjoying the training, you remember the training. We’ve all attended drip dry training in the past where our will to lives slowly evaporates… Needless to say, I have a feeling that people leave my training feeling enlightened, emboldened and inspired.


Onward, ever onward and it’s all thanks to those people who are willing to share their stories and co-produce a sterling training programme.