Lyn Ferrand

Writer and Director Lyn Ferrand founded Turning Point Theatre Company in 1989. In 2000 she co-founded Buzzword Interactive Films and made award winning theatre and training film dramas.

Working in association with a variety of voluntary and statutory agencies over a period of 14 years she was commissioned to write and direct plays and films that looked at diverse health and social issues. She designed and ran training programmes using theatre and film. Clients included The Crown Prosecution Service, The Devon and Cornwall Police, Devon County Council, Lancashire County Council, the Scottish Mental Health Association, Women’s Aid, Rethink UK and Carers UK. Lyn worked with director and humanist Augusto Boal  She wrote forum theatre plays and worked as a forum theatre practitioner for many different clients in the field of health and social care. Her article about her work with carers is published in Contemporary Theatre Review: http://www.informaworld.com 

Lyn studied Theatre Arts at Dartington College and Law at The Open University. She is now a carer for her husband, makes the occasional short film and writes novels. Since 2014 she has published four books and is currently working on her fifth novel, a book of short stories for children and a memoir. She is available as a consultant. Contact Lyn here: lyn.ferrand@zen.co.uk

Find Lyn’s books at www.feedaread.com or www.amazon.co.uk

Lyn’s film THE LOST CHILD has been described as  :  “An example of exceptionally effective learning”

The Lost Child training DVD was commissioned by Lancashire Social Services for the ACPC . It was written and directed by Lyn, produced by Mike Berenger and shot by Greg Browning.

The film was:

  • Highly Commended at The Community Care Awards
  • Highly Commended at the Cumbria and Lancashire SHA Achievement Awards
  • Winner of The National Training Awards North West
  • Winner of The Skills for Care Training Accolade and was awarded 4 stars in Community Care Magazine.

The Lost Child is currently being used nationally and internationally (University of Southern Australia) and has proved to be a very useful and innovative training resource.

“North Essex Partnership Foundation Trust is using the DVD 
The Lost Child as a component of its mandatory two day Safeguarding Children Training which is provided to all clinicians and practitioners working within NEPFT. The DVD is used as an interactive exercise within which professionals explore the impact of parental mental illness on the child and the knowledge of professionals working in different domains and agencies.
The response to the DVD – (which has been used as part of the mandatory training programme for over three years with more than 750 professionals) – has always been excellent. It enables professionals to consider the impact of mental illness on relationships, the position of the child and frequent absence of the child’s voice in adult mental health services. Following use of the DVD as an interactive exercise, professionals link the lessons learned into policy and procedure – for example the use of genograms in all assessments. The DVD is thus an essential component in translating theory regarding the impact of parental mental illness on children and families into practice”     
Consultant, Safeguarding Children & Adults. North Essex Partnership Foundation Trust

COMMUNITY CARE MAGAZINE:

“I hope this DVD is an indicator of just how far on-a-shoestring, role play-reliant social care training has come. The fact that this is a DVD for one blows the cobwebs off the technophobe perception of top-loading VCRs, writes Graham Hopkins.

Back in the early 1990s, I remember having to use a video of Monty Python’s parrot sketch on my courses on social care complaints just to have a visual break. But it is the top-notch quality of this professional production that stands out. Happily, it is a quality that training resources – often themselves the neglected child of social care organisations – are increasingly now providing.

Bravely commissioned by Lancashire social services to explore child protection and parental mental illness, the 30-minute film for the most part convincingly traces the relationship between Alison (Anita Parry) a make-the-best-of-it mum and Nick (MikeBerenger) a mentally-ill study in smouldering tension.

It is seen in flashback through the eyes of their 16-year-old daughter, Tina (Frankie Waller), the acting star of the piece – despite her accent occasionally wandering up and down the M1. Her line, “I’m not a child – don’t think I’ve ever been a child,” is the film’s sound central message.”

Star Rating: 4/5

Lyn’s play Aggravated Trespass was commissioned by The Crown Prosecution Service and The Devon Racial Equality Council. It was presented to an audience of judges, magistrates and police at a major conference in the South West.

A polished cast of actors delivered a telling script raising a number of highly pertinent issues around racism in rural communities. Peter Ellis (Chief Inspector Brownlow from ‘The Bill’) played a newly appointed JP who found himself hosting a ‘difficult’ dinner party where his student daughter introduced her black fiance and his barrister sister to two family friends whose attitudes to ethnic minorities were sadly all too familiar. The play required its audience to think carefully about how black people are received in the prosperous shires and how ‘liberal’ facades can so easily mask deeply irrational prejudices.”

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WORKING WITH CHILD PROTECTION AND OTHER HEALTH AND SOCIAL ISSUES

 

NEWS!  THE LOST CHILD film is now available to stream through VHX. Just click here: https://turnaroundfilms.vhx.tv/products/the-lost-child

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This is what our latest client says about the film:

‘I have been using the Lost Child as a film for students in my postgraduate social work subject on working with children and families (around 70 students). I explain that it is an excellent film that centres the voice and effects of complex family issues on children. There are some students that can’t attend class and streaming it would enable us to use it online.’  Dr Carole Zufferey, Senior Lecturer, School of Psychology, Social Work and Socal Policy, Magill Campus, Magill, Australia.

Turning Point Theatre Company and Buzzword Interactive Films created training programmes for a variety of voluntary and statutory agencies, from the nineties through to 2013. The subjects covered included the work done by informal carers; that is, people who look after a friend or relative at home, health matters, such as ageing, osteoarthritis, mental health, in particular Schizophrenia and child protection, looking at children who grow up in a family where there is parental mental illness.

carers1All the work the two companies carried out, appear as relevant today as they were then, particularly the project commissioned by Lancashire Social Services: THE LOST CHILD. The film was the outcome of a series of day-long workshops for professionals, working in the field of child protection, using forum theatre to explore the issues and a performance of an interactive forum theatre play.

The success of the project meant that the company was commissioned to make the film to give the project a shelf-life and it is still being used today, both here in the UK at a universities in Australia. The film was designed with a menu, so that trainers could stop the action at certain point, to enable audiences to discuss the problems depicted in the drama. THE LOST CHILD went on to win a raft of awards, including The National Training Awards.

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The Lost Child

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KEEPING MILLY HAPPY is a short film that looks at how elderly patients can so easily deteriorate if they do not receive appropriate care for osteoarthritis. This film was commissioned by Devon County Council and is still in use in various hospitals and care centres around the UK.

Another successful film produced by Buzzword was NICE PEOPLE. This was commissioned as a training resource for the Devon and Cornwall police, and to raise awareness in the county on rural racism. email_np_adThe film was used as the basis of a series of training workshops run by Lyn Ferrand and her company, designed specifically for police officers. The film was part of this training programme.

Lyn Ferrand, the writer and director of all these innovative projects has now retired. Thank you to all the talented and wonderful actors, cinematographers, crew and everyone else involved in the making of these films and the original projects.

More photos:

 

 

 

Lyn is now a carer for her partner and writes novels. These can be accessed online at:

www.feedaread.com

Amazon.co.uk

Waterstones.com

RURAL CUT: This book explores how financial greed and the repercussions of indiscriminate development can ruin lives and change rural places for ever.
JONTY”S WIN: Can money alone mend the loneliness, austerity, damaged relationships and homelessness that the protagonist Jonty Greer unwittingly uncovers? Will Jonty’s money make him a better person? Or will he and the people it attracts, remain the same?
Jonty’s Win is a sequel to Lyn Ferrand’s first novel Pretending.
362c528e-b27e-4747-871e-e8dfbe380559

JONTY'S WIN 

 

 

 

17190949_1265474693500898_8349464218403510824_nPRETENDING

The story of six actors and a director convinced that theatre will change the world. Events change everyone, though strangely, pretending prevails…

THE MAN WHO THOUGHT HE WAS HAPPY

Jake Adams discovers that family scripts run parallel, each new generation caught up in an involuntary mimicking of past lives and times and in his obsessive compulsion to find Emma, he is forced to see that what really matters is how, in the moment, we connect.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

JONTY’S WIN – A NEW NOVEL BY LYN FERRAND

JONTY'WIN QUOTE FOR TWITTERJonty’s Win by Lyn Ferrand is a funny, at times sad, thoughtful book about what happens when you become filthy rich overnight. It’s what we all want, isn’t it? Buy at www.feedaread.com  at Waterstones https://www.waterstones.com/author/lyn-ferrand/753084  at Barnes&Noble  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/jontys-win-lyn-ferrand/1128890017?ean=9781788763516

 

Download on AMAZON KINDLE NOW for just £2.00!  https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jontys-Win-Lyn-Ferrand-ebook/dp/B07FMD8CCF/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1532856195&sr=8-1-fkmr0&keywords=Jonty%27s+Win+by+Lyn+Ferrand+on+Kindle

Laurel and JontyJonty Greer is an irresistible, impoverished jobbing actor catapulted into the fraught mindset of a rich man by a lottery win. Certain that money can deliver happiness and change, he strives to give his fortune a social conscience by funding what he views as life-changing theatre workshops, initially to the young people of a small English seaside town. Insta JontyAs insecure as he was ten years ago when he worked for The People Train Community Theatre, he summons support from his old acting buddies, Edward D’Amato and Caroline Fenton, persuading them to join him on his altruistic quest to heal and inspire the disenfranchised youth of the town and possibly, the whole world. Jonty is unprepared for the demands a vast amount of money put on him and the people around him, including the local council, the women in his life and an abused child attending the workshops. Jonty's faceCan money alone mend the loneliness, austerity, damaged relationships and homelessness that he unwittingly uncovers? Will Jonty’s win make him a better person? Or will he and the people his money attracts, remain the same? Jonty’s Win is a sequel to Lyn Ferrand’s first novel Pretending.

This is the second book in the Jonty series. Look out for the next one, coming soon! Enjoy!

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THE DARKER SIDE OF COUNTRY LIFE

The second edition of my book RURAL CUT is out now. You can get your copy at Amazon and other online bookstores: https://www.waterstones.com/books/search/term/lyn+ferrand

 Also at www.feedaread.com

362c528e-b27e-4747-871e-e8dfbe380559Filmmaker Steve Firenze responds to a plea for help from Harry, his daughter’s godfather, who has relocated from London to a rural community in the West Country.
Caught up in Harry’s desperate claim that an unscrupulous property developer is financially exploiting him, Steve inadvertently exposes the dark side of the rural idyll and comes face to face with corruption and murder.
While attempting to solve Harry’s issues, Steve befriends Eloise and becomes involved in a series of malevolent events that threaten her sanity.
They are forced to reassess their values, the way they perceive the changing countryside and the people who live there.

Black humour is ever present in this tale of unfulfilled expectations surrounding the myth of a tranquil country life. With a tongue-in-cheek look at the criminal activities of a local councillor and a quartet of elderly incomers who have purchased houses on a gated community for the retired, Rural Cut explores how financial greed and the repercussions of indiscriminate development can ruin lives and change rural places for ever.
 
ISBN: 9781784077204
Type: Paperback
Pages: 270
Published: 29 June 2018

https://www.waterstones.com/books/search/term/lyn+ferrand

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MY NEXT BOOK(S)?

 

 

JONTY'S WIN

Front cover

Completing my latest book JONTY’S WIN made life quite difficult, once I’d put in the last full stop.  You see, I have fallen in love with my main character, Jonty Greer, the hapless actor who has won 53 million pounds on the lottery. Well, who wouldn’t fall in love with a man that rich, I hear you say. 

Actually, it has nothing whatsoever to do with his money. Promise! You see, I have known Jonty for some time. He was the star in my first novel, PRETENDING, written in 2013 and it’s not the last time his febrile antics will fill the pages of a book. I am, at this moment, preparing the next episode of the ongoing chaotic adventure that is his life. Back Cover JWIt’s because he is so extraordinary, so optimistic, so completely unaccountable, that I love him. He has now become a permanent fixture in my mind and heart and I can’t wait to see what he does next.

 

 

17190949_1265474693500898_8349464218403510824_nI have this weird feeling that Jonty is destined to become a cult figure in the literary world. I’ve always been an optimist, like him.

He had a slow start in PRETENDING and speeded up in JONTY’S WIN, as he spread his exuberance across the pages.

 

Dear reader, I must impress on you, he means well. Oh, yes, he means very well. He just doesn’t quite understand real life. The life on a stage or in front of a camera or on YouTube is his reality. No-one can change that. I should know. I created him. Like the monster in Frankenstein, I have let him escape, and he will plunder his way through a series of forthcoming novels like a tribe of wildebeests on the African Plains, seeking satisfaction, fame, adoration and, because he has a good heart, love.

There is no going back. My plans to write an autobiography, a book about bees, a novel with Trump as the protagonist, have all gone up a chimney. Jonty will consume my thoughts and I guess, my life for the next few months.

Here it is: available for you to read and review and give me your hate/love feelings for the boy. Of course, you might fall in love with one of the other characters. That’s okay. They’re all pretty lovable. 

JONTY'S WIN

 

Book number two, RURAL CUT is altogether a more sombre affair.

5-Cover-Image

About to be published! If you live in rural England, this is the book for you, but read it behind the sofa, if you are of a delicate disposition.

You can get your copies from Amazon, Foyles, Barnes and Noble, Waterstones and a host of other online book shops. Also, at my lovely publisher’s site: http://www.feedaread.com

Please leave a review so I can decide whether or not to give up writing and become the oldest DJ in the West.

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Spooky read! Good for keeping you up at night.

 

MAKING A THEATRE COMPANY

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Turning Point Theatre Company

Back in the mists of time – 1989, to be precise – I wrote a play. It was called You Deserve a Good Rest. The title came out of my observations of older people who were about to plunge into the dark world of retirement.

At the time, retirement was a dirty word. Once out of the workplace, most older people were patronised and ignored. Kind-hearted souls, years younger sent congratulation cards and quoted platitudes, one of which was: ‘You deserve a good rest, dear…’

I was nowhere near retirement age at the time, but I’ve always had an annoying sense of justice and being the youngest of five, with an older mother and twenty years between myself and my eldest brother, I was aware that approaching your demise in a state of ‘retirement’ did nothing for your health or well-being.

The play looked at a man reaching sixty – the retirement age in those days (don’t laugh!) I used music, humour and a look at the history of retirement, in an hour-long production that toured my home county. I had no idea the play would be such a success, or that it would ever be produced. For this, I have to thank a wonderful woman called Margaret Willet, who at the time, was the director of Age Concern (now renamed Age UK) in Devon.

On a whim, I sent the play to Margaret and within a few days, I received a phone call from her, asking if I would like to present a performance at a conference set up by The Centre for Policy on Ageing.  The conference was at a London venue in a few months time, with Dr. Eric Midwinter coordinating the event. I was even offered a substantial grant to help finance the production. I was ecstatic and very surprised.

Sitting at a tiny desk in my bedroom, writing furiously on an Amstrad (early computer) given to me by one of my sons, that encouragement and the grant, ensured that I began to take myself seriously as a writer for the first time.

I had worked as a waitress, an OT aid, an office receptionist and all the while, continued writing whatever and whenever I could. At the age of 34, encouraged by my partner, I went to college to study drama and subsequently began working in theatre as a singer, director/performer, voice-over and filmmaker while attempting to raise four children, run a home and a husband or two. My first break at writing drama was a commission by a local radio station DevonAir. Nicky Ezer, a wonderful, innovative producer, asked me to write a radio soap opera called The Devon Lanes. Yes, you read that correctly! It focused on a family moving to Devon from up-country (as we say down here, and that means anywhere from Bristol, up!) I began writing and sometimes acting in ten minute episodes, broadcast every day, with an omnibus edition on Fridays!

I came from a musical, theatrical family and my early years were peppered with theatrical events, like sitting in the wings at Drury Lane Theatre in London, watching The King and I, with Valerie Hobson and Herbert Lom as Mrs Anna and the King of Siam. My eldest sister was playing one of the King’s wives and understudying Tuptim, the favoured wife in the harem. I was about eight years old at the time. I watched the same sister as a member of the chorus in the London production of Carousel, also at Drury Lane, this time from the front row of the stalls. I also remember vividly, climbing the stone stairs to the dressing room at the ‘Lane’, to walk in on one of the chorus girls, wearing nothing but a sanitary towel on a belt. Having seen the dreaded sight, I heard my sister shriek and then, felt her cover my eyes with her hands. It was 1953.

The performance of You Deserve a Good Rest was performed at the conference and received loud applause and a chance to discuss the action with the audience, who were mainly doctors and others working in the field of geriatric medicine. I realised, after the event was over, I was on to something.

logo4A year later. I formed Turning Point Theatre Company to carry on where my first play left off. My next project came out of the research I’d already done on the lives of retirees. It was clear that one of the most poignant and unexpected things that happened to many people at the start of, or during their retirement, was becoming a carer. This could happen literally overnight, if one partner in a couple became serious ill or incapacitated by a stroke or any of the many conditions that afflict people, now we are all living longer.

sc00098e92I attended conferences and carer’s groups and listened. Carers UK, then The Carers National Association gave me some truly mind-blowing stats. There were, at the time 7.5 million unpaid carers in the UK. This was defined as a family member or friend caring for another person. And they were saving the government millions of pounds. Sadly, the situation in 2018 is not much better, though there is more publicity on social media and in the press, as to what carer’s actually do 365 days of the year. Then, when I wrote my next play, called aptly Carers, the theatre tickets came back from the printers with the word Careers printed on them. The printer had no idea there was such a word as carer, and thought I had made a spelling mistake!

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Jane Bellamy as a carer – jumping through hoops to get help.

carersCarers received support from The Carers National Association and a substantial grant from The Prudential Carers Awareness Fund. By this time, Turning Point Theatre Company was receiving grants from South West Arts and other funders such as The National Lottery, which had just started. We toured the play in association with a number of carer’s groups across the South of the UK. After each show, the actors and a panel of people working with carers discussed the content of the play and related their own experiences, which were always fascinating and sometimes, very moving. I chaired these discussions and our wonderful stage manager recorded them in a book, with a pen; this was before iPads and laptops.

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Mike Berenger in Carers

My next blog will continue the Turning Point journey. I want to tell you all about receiving awards and how I started making films, so watch this space! Thanks for reading.

My latest book, available online at Amazon, Foyles, Waterstones and Barnes and Noble.

JONTY'S WIN

REVISION TIME

Below are the cover proofs of my second novel. It was first published a couple of years ago.

5-Cover-Image

I’ve taken the plunge and revised the book. It will be out very soon. I’m still learning my craft and it’s hard graft.

My time is limited now, since my partner became ill and I have become a carer. Writing has always been a way for me to withdraw from my surroundings, immerse myself in another world and meet new people – my characters. The beauty of this circle of friends is the way they stay silent and allow me to manipulate them, create lives and loves and stories in which they cavort about at my command. It’s bliss, it really is. They make me laugh, cry and all feel all emotions inbetween in the safety of my writing room, with no repercussions.

That’s the magic of creative writing. I started writing novels five years ago. My first book – Pretending – was a terrifying ride, rather like getting stuck on the top of the London Eye during a thunder storm.

I had no idea what I was doing, and those of you who have read the book, may feel that I am still scrabbling about, pretending to be an author. But, nothing ventured, nothing gained (so my old mum used to say) and once the last fullstop is in place, I move on.

That’s what all those life coaches tell you, don’t they? Don’t linger, don’t procrastinate on the past, move, move, move ON!

One thing that moves me along is my dog. He needs walking at least twice a day, so when the muse decides to open the nearest windoimg_4290.jpgw and flee, my lovely old spaniel is there to move me to the door and drag me, rain, sleet, snow or sun on a long walk. It works miracles. I nearly always return to my desk feeling better and full of new ideas. ( I said nearly always…) By the way, if you are wondering what that strange thing is, in the bottom right hand corner of the picture, it’s my foot. Charlie dog got very angry because I was stuck on a chapter and made him wait for his walk, so he chewed up my slippers.

If you want to follow the path of this meandering writer who keeps on trying, please read my books and tell me what you think. If I don’t like what you say, I can always walk the bloody dog! (Thanks).

Perhaps, you might like to read this one, too? Jonty’s Win has just been published. You can get your copy at www.feedaread.com or online at Amazon and other Internet book outlets. Thanks again!

JONTY'S WIN

JONTY’S WIN

My new novel is published today!

JONTY'S WINJonty Greer is an irresponsible, impoverished jobbing actor catapulted into the fraught mindset of a rich man by a lottery win. Certain that money can deliver happiness and change, he strives to give his fortune a social conscience by funding what he views as life-changing theatre workshops, initially to the young people of a small English seaside town. As insecure as he was ten years ago when he worked for The People Train Community Theatre, he summons support from his old acting buddies, Edward D’Amato and Caroline Fenton, persuading them to join him on his altruistic quest to heal and inspire the disenfranchised youth of the town and possibly, the whole world. Jonty is unprepared for the demands a vast amount of money put on him and the people around him, including the local council, the women in his life and an abused child attending the workshops. Can money alone mend the loneliness, austerity, damaged relationships and homelessness that he unwittingly uncovers? Will Jonty’s win make him a better person? Or will he and the people his money attract remain the same?
ISBN: 9781788763516
Type: Paperback

Also available in hardback. Order your copy now at www.feedaread.com

Soon at Amazon and other online book stores.

THE STORY OF THE LOST CHILD

A few years ago, when I was the creative director of Buzzword Films and Turning Point Theatre Company, we were approached by Lancashire Social Services to create a training programme for agencies working in the field of child protection.

tlc_front_page2After many productive visits to Lancashire to discuss the project, I came up with a programme to include a new play as the focus of a training day. The company would use Forum Theatre, discussion and workshop techniques to bond the people working in the different agencies. Although there was cooperation between them, there was little collaboration, so the aim of the training programme was to touch hearts, as well as minds to draw people together and encourage collaborative thinking when addressing the many and various difficult situations these professionals had to deal with on a daily basis. It was hoped that through better collaboration, there would be fewer child deaths in the area.

The Turning Point actors rehearsed my new play for three weeks, before taking it to a venue in Lancashire as part of a three-day training programme for approximately 30 people a day, from many different agencies that included Social Services, Police, Health and Social Care, Education and Child Protection.

The company presented a tight format, starting with trust exercises and theatre games, giving the group a chance to relax and have fun; always a good way to get people to connect. After a coffee break, the actors presented a performance of The Lost Child. My play was based on research material given to me by the commissioning agency. The story focused on the views of a child watching her parents cope with their mental illness and its aftermath.

Following the performance, the group broke for lunch and a chance to informally discuss what they had gleaned from the play.

sc0008872d2The afternoon session started with Forum Theatre, a method of enabling an audience to ‘rehearse for reality’ by watching scenes from the play again and looking at how the situations the protagonist found herself in, might be changed. The audience, who all had some professional connection to the subject matter of the play, were invited to change places with the protagonist at any moment during the replay of the scene, by shouting STOP, take her place and show how they would manage the situation depicted. Following each intervention, we discussed the new solution offered and whether or not it had worked, was truthful and possible. 

The training programme was a huge success and when it was over, I was commissioned to give the play a shelf-life by making it into a film. I wrote a screenplay and working with the same actors and a very talented cinematographer/editor,  we made a 28 minute drama DVD film that could be stopped at any point, using a special menu, so that trainers could discuss with their students specific issues, as they came up in the scenes.

The Lost Child won a whole raft of awards, including The National Training Award. It was described as: An example of exceptionally effective learning.

It was:

  • Highly Commended at The Community Care Awards
  • Highly Commended at the Cumbria and Lancashire SHA Achievement Awards
  • Winner of The National Training Awards North West
  • Winner of The Skills for Care Training Accolade and was awarded 4 stars in Community Care Magazine.

The Lost Child is currently being used nationally and internationally (University of Southern Australia) and has proved to be a very useful and innovative training resource. Here is what just one of our clients said about the film:

“North Essex Partnership Foundation Trust is using the DVD – “The Lost Child” as a component of its mandatory two-day Safeguarding Children Training which is provided to all clinicians and practitioners working within NEPFT. The DVD is used as an interactive exercise within which professionals explore the impact of parental mental illness on the child and the knowledge of professionals working in different domains and agencies.
The response to the DVD – (which has been used as part of the mandatory training programme for over three years with more than 750 professionals) – has always been excellent. It enables professionals to consider the impact of mental illness on relationships, the position of the child and frequent absence of the child’s voice in adult mental health services. Following use of the DVD as an interactive exercise, professionals link the lessons learned into policy and procedure – for example the use of genograms in all assessments. The DVD is thus an essential component in translating theory regarding the impact of parental mental illness on children and families into practice.” 
Consultant, Safeguarding Children & Adults
North Essex Partnership Foundation Trust

FURTHER BACKGROUND INFORMATION –

An interactive forum theatre play and a DVD film drama were commissioned from Lyn Ferrand, Turning Point Theatre and Buzzword Films to give children of mentally ill parents in Lancashire a better level of protection.

The project was part of a training programme developed jointly by Lancashire County Council’s Social Services Directorate, Lancashire Child Protection Committee and Buzzword Interactive Films.

The programme was written and facilitated by award-winning writer and director Lyn Ferrand. The project won the National Training Award – Northwest and The Skills in Social Care Accolade for the most innovative multi-disciplinary training. It was also short-listed for the Community Care Awards.

“Due to the difficulty in persuading staff who normally refer vertically within their organisations to start working laterally, we needed a different training solution, with a large emphasis on hearts instead of minds.” Lyn Gornall Lancashire County Council Training Co-ordinator, Mental Health

I think the issues around mental health and the impact on family members, but particularly the daughter in this case were really well explored. The quality of the story line was brought to life by the excellent acting and production. It is a real quality product and will be a very effective training tool” Director, Social Services.

HOW THE DVD WORKED –

Why is this an example of exceptionally effective learning?

Joint working in adult mental health and childcare across agencies is a complex, challenging and demanding area of work. The ways in which agencies meet the needs of both the child and the parent where there is parental mental illness inevitably impacts on all those involved.

Through the eyes of a child, the film tells the story of a family where there is parental mental illness. It gives the audience a unique opportunity to explore for themselves how those experiences can be affected by the ways in which they are involved or choose to intervene and explores the possible consequences and alternatives for the family, the professionals and others.

The film has a user-friendly menu. Trainers can stop scenes and ask participants to discuss what is happening. The DVD is not prescriptive. It does not give answers. Rather it encourages creative thinking and debate, challenging staff both at an emotional and an intellectual level and offering a way to explore solutions and improved practice.

OUTCOMES IN LANCASHIRE.

The level of co-operation was unprecedented across the county. Prior to this training there had been 2 child deaths due to non co-operation and poor communication. Since the use of this training there have been none. Improved awareness of the need for good communication, co-operation and ‘joined up working’ to protocols is the central contributory factor. By being able to challenge the professionals on neutral ground I felt that I made a difference for the first time today. Service user. Preston Area.

The evidence provided showed that

  1. a) Children are safer
  2. b) Services are more joined up in their thinking about families. Incorporating the principles of this training will benefit hundreds of children within families throughout Lancashire.

It certainly emphasises that there are critical times in an interview when the professional needs to reflect on strategies being used… it goes without saying that all of the sequences are relevant to the issues related to mental health, alcohol, domestic violence and the frustration clients can encounter with agencies in particular their lack of understanding of mental health. Manager Education Support Team. 

If you are interested to know more, please contact Lyn Ferrand at lyn.ferrand@zen.co.uk

 

The Fears and Tribulations of a Writer…

So, you have finished your novel? No opening the Prosecco and crisps.  It’s time to rewrite it. That’s a hard pill to swallow, but unless you do embark on this tedious journey, you will never know if your plot, your characters or your idea to write the thing in the first place, was worthwhile and had any mileage.

Writing is a craft. It takes time and the sort of care a new baby deserves.  I have been trying to write for the last five years. I have published four books through an online site called Feedaread, funded by the UK Arts Council. It’s given me a chance to flex my writing muscles and find my writer’s voice – every writer must find this elusive piece of kit. It’s hidden somewhere in the dark recesses of your mind and doesn’t come out to play willingly.

When I read my finished work, there is often a sudden urge to declare it a load of old tosh and chuck into that little dustbin sign or press the delete button. I’m a fan of recycling, so after a cup of coffee or two and possibly a chocolate biscuit (or two), I start to work on recycling my writing. That may sound a bit lame, but it works for me. If I tell myself to cut, cut, cut, I start to lose heart and eat more biscuits.

For many years, I worked as a theatre director and a filmmaker. Life wasn’t half so difficult. You see, in those salubrious professions, you are not working alone. You have the bonus of lots of people around you, to tell you when your work is rubbish, too long, badly edited, crap!

As a novelist, you are stuck in a room with a computer, lots of dirty cups, a miserable dog who needs a walk and hope, (that’s not a person with the capital letter missing, it’s an emotion and probably has an emoji). At least I am, most of the time. You see, I always thought I was pretty good at spelling and grammar. Oh, folly! When I write, everything I learned in those literature/drama/writing lectures goes up a chimney. Why is that?

The recycling brings all those horrible mistakes to light. Who spells striped with the letter P twice? That’s stripped; something you do to wallpaper, right? Who puts too many commas, too few semicolons, far too many exclamation marks? Moi? That’s right. Why? Why? Why?

I learned how to spell and use English grammar at school. Yet, somehow the words flow out of me like racing banshees when I’m starting a chapter and the rules those dedicated teachers taught me all those years ago, disappear in the heat of the writing moment. Spelling etc becomes a hit and miss affair, as my fingers hit the keys and the story unfolds on the screen.

How to remedy this rebellion that happens in the space between head and fingers? Well, one way is to edit and rewrite until your fingers and your brain disintegrate, like melting lard on a hot hob. Not very pretty, but essential.

The next job, once you’ve put down the last full stop, is to turn the bloody PC off and GO FOR A WALK! (Dog is thrilled). I try not to look at the manuscript for at least three days. It’s like a well-made Christmas cake; it needs time to soak up the brandy and let the flavours develop. The idea is that when you come back to your precious book, it will jump out at you as a work of genius and your fortune will be assured.

Nope. That is not what happens to most writers. Sorry. If this career is your chosen path, failure is inevitable. Rejection is something you will have to cope with without on-going therapy. After five years at it, I quite enjoy rejection slips, especially if I am assured that my work is ever so slightly better than most of the unreadable rubbish the poor hard-working editor has had to read that week.

Writer out there, don’t despair. Share your rejection angst. I promise I will read every word.

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Doing my bit, talking to other writers. Hope they are listening…