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.
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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

 

CURRENT NEWS

MAKING IT HAPPEN – 6th April 2018

20170217_141902Five years ago, I began writing novels. It’s been a tough learning curve, but one I’ve enjoyed. There have been lots of hiccups and ups and downs in my personal life during the last five years. Writing is all consuming and I didn’t expect to become a full-time carer, juggling time like a mad woman at the start of my next piece of serious writing. It’s been ironic, as one of my most successful plays CARERS explored that subject in depth, ten years ago. Many early mornings and late nights allowed me to fit writing in when I could. Tearing hair out would be a good description of my feelings at certain moments during the past year! Has it been worth it? Absolutely. My wonderful partner is making progress after his stroke and life is on a more even keel, at last, though he will always have some disability. Writing has helped me cope with the rush of unexpected emotions any family trauma brings. It keeps me focused and helped me cope with the everyday chaos I had to face when I realised I was responsible for everything while my partner was recovering. One thing I learned was never to take anything for granted and always be thankful. Loving someone very much also helped, as did the wonderful support I received from my family and friends. I can’t thank them enough.

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I am now about to publish my next book JONTY’S WIN. This book is a sequel to my first novel PRETENDING. I wanted to explore the characters I’d created in more detail, discovering what might happen to them in the future. The book has not turned out the way I expected. Those pushy characters took me on a journey that led me down lots of garden paths and round the bend at times. In the end, I capitulated and the novel was finished and is now with publisher Feedaread.com and should be out very soon.

JONTY'S WINJONTY’S WIN is a quirky, humorous romance that looks at what happens when someone wins a vast amount of money on the lottery. Thanks for reading my blog and watch this space for a publishing date for JONTY’S WIN.  Lyn. x

Lyn Ferrand is the founder of Turning Point Theatre Company, Buzzword Films and most recently, Turnaround Films. She has written and directed film and theatre since 1990, working in association with a wide variety of voluntary and statutory agencies. In 2000 she launched Buzzword Interactive Films with Greg Browning. Buzzword and Turning Point Theatre won several awards for training films and theatre productions, including The National Training Awards.

Her film and theatre projects have been commissioned by many different clients in the voluntary and statutory sectors and used to highlight specific health and social issues, as well as for training healthcare professionals.

tlc_front_pageAwards: National Training Awards for the film THE LOST CHILD, The Skills For Care Accolades, Pavilion Innovations in Training and Prudential Carers Award. My work has been shortlisted for The Charity Awards and received four stars in Community Care Magazine.

Lyn was the Diversity Manager for DREC, creating diversity training for The Crown Prosecution Service and the Devon and Cornwall Police, including writing and producing the film NICE PEOPLE which looked at issues around rural racism.

Since 2015, Lyn has written three novels, published by Feedaread. Her books can also be found on Amazon.com and other online book outlets. Lyn is a member of The Writers’ Guild of Great Britain.

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