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Greater Manchester trusted relationship service aims to improve support for young people at risk of abuse and exploitation, by strengthening existing relationships between young people and the adults who are there to support them.
Our vision is to build on the expertise of frontline, complex safeguarding teams by embedding specialist mental health clinicians into them.

Our clinicians can help you to think about the impact of trauma on young people you’re supporting. They can also help you to support your own wellbeing and manage the emotional impact of working in this demanding and distressing area.

The three key interventions we offer include:

Consultation, as an intervention, aims to add to the expertise and strengthen the skills that you already have. In the Trusted Relationships model, consultation takes place with you or your team, but it usually centres on a young person who is open to your team.

You might bring a question or concern about a young person, that you would like help thinking through, or it could be that the consultation is an opportunity for colleagues to come together and share information about a young person.

Our clinicians will use evidence-based psychological and developmental theory to help you understand a young person and the impact their life experiences might have had on them and how this continues to impact on their relationships, mental health and behaviours.

Most important, this consultation helps you or your team think about your interventions and relationships with young people or adults from a more psychological and trauma-informed position.

Some feedback we’ve received:

  • “This support has enabled me to reflect on the work I’m doing with young people, case formulations and how to think outside the box."

    “Amazing consultation and I feel that all social workers with complex cases should utilise this service."

    "The consultations are invaluable and provide a lot of support to a role that is both complex and, at times, conflicting."

    “Reassurance that having discussed it with someone external that I am heading in the right direction and am doing as much as I can for this young person”

When you are working with high levels of trauma and adversity, over time, this can have a detrimental impact on your wellbeing and your capacity to work effectively.

Providing options for you to reflect on the emotional impact of your work, and thinking about steps to look after yourself, can help to protect from the longer-term impact of working with trauma.

Our offer of ‘staff support’ can vary considerably depending on your needs and the clinical expertise of our clinicians. For example, we may offer a specific model, such as Compassion Focused staff support, or a less structured space for you to come and reflect on the impact of your work.

The most important aspect is that you have choice about accessing it; when, where, and who with.  Understandably, not everyone will want to come together as a group and not everyone will want to talk to our trusted relationships clinician.

Please note: staff support has very clear limitations and is not an alternative to the occupational health offer, nor is it a replacement for psychological assessment if required.  

Some feedback we’ve received:

  • “Accessing the support from the sessions has helped both in my professional and my personal life.  I am more able to “check in with myself” and to manage any anxieties, emotions and to bring myself back to a level very quickly”
  • “It’s a really helpful space to slow things down for you, relax and control your body which has an impact on your mind and feeling calm, and more able to manage things. It always leave me feeling positive, this space is so welcomed any way due to busy caseloads and the emotional impact, but within the context of the current pandemic, it’s appreciated even more.”

Our offer of training is developed in collaboration with colleagues from your Complex Safeguarding team. It often comes about once the consultations are underway and topics or gaps in knowledge or confidence begin to be raised.

Some training topics we’ve offered include:

  • Vicarious trauma
  • Developmental trauma
  • Working safely with trauma
  • Self-harm
  • Behind the behaviour
  • Understanding and supporting children with autism spectrum conditions at risk of exploitation

Some of the feedback about what people have taken away from training:

  • "The importance of joint visits and building trust as early as possible."
  • "Think about personal triggers and understand how my behaviour changes when I am stressed."
  • "Be more aware of when I'm being 'good enough', recognising the early warning signs and what I can do about it."
  • "To explore family dynamics and intergenerational influences that may be present for the family and the young person."

The trusted relationships project was Home Office funded from 2018, but the success of our input across Greater Manchester saw mainstream funding secured in 2022.

Over the past four years, we’ve gathered considerable feedback about the benefits of this service. Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) wrote a paper reviewing the feedback from over 50 professionals from the 10 complex safeguarding teams across Greater Manchester.

If you’re interested in hearing more or would like to find out about any employment opportunities, please contact Kate: