PETT News

The Child Care History Network 
and 
The Child Migrants Trust 
present:

"Child Migration: lessons for today"

Monday 15 October 2012: National Maritime Museum, Liverpool

During the 19th and 20th centuries, about 130,000 children were sent from the UK to Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Zimbabwe to give them a fresh start and to boost the population of developing nations. The last ones went as recently as 1970. Some did well, but many were exploited and deceived by those who should have safeguarded them. It is only in recent years that public apologies have led to serious attempts by the British and Australian governments to help those who were mistreated.

  • Share the latest research on the subject,
  • Identify what went wrong and how it happened, and
  • Examine the lessons for today’s policy making and practice.

Speakers will include

  • Professor Roy Parker, who has recently researched emigration to Canada.
  • David Hinchliffe, former MP who, as the Chair of the Health Select Committee, led a parliamentary inquiry into the welfare of Britain’s child migrants.
  • Dr Margaret Humphreys CBE, OAM, International Director, Child Migrants Trust.
  • Jim Hyland, former care services manager with a keen interest in the history of the service.


The conference is open to a wide range of professionals and students, people whose relatives were sent abroad, historians, social workers, lawyers or child care workers...

The charge for the day will be £45 to include refreshments and lunch.

More information and a booking form can be downloaded on the CCHN website here

Or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Or phone: 01242 621200

A special book for a special place -

Trinity's new Principal Chris Gabbett watches as Craig Fees presents book to drama teacher Verity Naughton and students Matt Pettle and Flora Gardner

Archivist and project director Dr. Craig Fees has presented the students and staff of Trinity Catholic School in Leamington Spa with a copy of Dimitry Morozov's book "KITEZH: A community approach to raising children in Russia", to thank them for their participation in and major contribution to PETT's Heritage Lottery Fund-supported project, "Therapeutic Living With Other People's Children".

"This is a special book for a number of reasons," said Dr. Fees. "Kitezh is a remarkable therapeutic community for orphaned and abandoned children in Russia, created in 1992. I originally heard founder Dimitry Morozov speak of his work on Australia's ABC International Service way back in 1998,  in the days of audio-cassettes. I ordered a copy of the broadcast from ABC, and we have that in the Archive. We have a video and other things produced since by the Ecologia Youth Trust, an international charity which supports the work of Kitezh. And back in 2007 Masha Pichugina and Maria Krivenkova of Kitezh paid a visit to the Archive, and we took the opportunity to record an interview for RadioTC International [which you can hear here]. But this is Dimitry Morozov's first book about Kitezh, and the only book so far about the history and work of this remarkable community of adults and children."

"But there is another reason the book is special. It is one of two copies given to the Archive by David Dean OBE, founder of Raddery School in Scotland, specifically as gifts to be given on in recognition and celebration of special contributions to the understanding of difficult childhoods and the people and places which work to change lives for the better.Trinity's participation in the "Therapeutic Living" project certainly fulfills those criteria, ten times over. It is a special book, for a very special school."

The book was accepted on behalf of the school by (from the left in the picture above) Verity Naughton, the drama teacher who worked so closely with the students on the production of "MAL-ER-JUH'S-TED" for the "Therapeutic Living Project"; students Matt Pettle and Flora Garner, who were among the almost 20 students who formed the performance group; and newly appointed Principal Chris Gabbett, whose own background as a senior adviser to the Narrowing the Gaps team and concern for disadvantaged and excluded children echoes the belief and care behind Kitezh itself (for more on Chris Gabbett, see here].

Not pictured is Assistant Principal Stephen Steinhaus, who initiated the collaboration with PETT and the "Therapeutic Living" project, and played a key role in ensuring the project's far-reaching impact and success.

"In the early pages of KITEZH" said Dr. Fees,  "Dimitry Morozov says of the children at Kitezh: 'once they arrive here, they cease to be orphans'. That resonates for me with the ethos at Trinity. That's the key to the communities we explored in "Therapeutic Living With Other People's Children. It is a privilege to be able to bring all this together with this presentation".

(For more on Kitezh, see their website and their Facebook Page)

 

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Craig Fees shares 'Kitezh' with Chris Gabbett

The bookplate

jarmstrong

The PETT team was on-hand with displays and to record at the Mulberry Bush School on Friday 6th July for a Celebration of the Life of John Armstrong who was Head of the Community from 1964-82.

Former Mulberry Bush Head and current PETT Director Rich Rollinson compered the day, as almost 70  former staff, children and family members from as far away as Scotland and Kent braved torrential rain to share their memories and recollections of a remarkable man.

A number of exhibits, photograph albums and Mulberry Bush documents were on display and people were invited to write specific memories and stories about John on a special wall-mounted 20 foot timeline. Celebrating his involvement and accomplishments in Scottish dancing, and his skills as a trainer, a local group he was involved with came and performed a series of dances, including one created especially in John's honour and first performed for John himself not long ago.

od4The Planned Environment Therapy Trust's Open Day on Sunday 1st July was an exciting and thought-provoking event attended by over forty people. 

Designed as a series of  'taster' sessions - behind and around which people could explore the place and talk with one another - we hoped that the informal presentations, exhibitions and displays would give visitors a better idea of what we do, and what the Trust is involved in. By bringing people together we also aimed to strengthen connections amongst those who already know us,  as well as meeting and introducing new friends; and saw this as the ideal opportunity to learn from visitors and share something  of the people and places we work with and alongside.  As Executive Director Rich Rollinson noted in his welcome address, 'The action's in the interaction!'


Throughout the day our guests were invited to look around the Archive and Study Centre, where a number of exhibits were on display and where archivists Dr. Craig Fees and Matt Naylor were on hand to comment or answer any questions.  As well as material on permanent display (and in practical use every day - the desk of Mulberry Bush founder Barbara Docker-Drysdale, the refectory table from Peper Harow, Margaret Lowenfeld's desk, given to Alexnder Gobell of Hengrove School…) Matt had created large displays featuring the recently catalogued Richard Crocket Collection, and material about John Armstrong, former Head of the Mulberry Bush School, whose life will be celebrated and remembered at an event on Friday, July 6th.  There were also oral history exhibits and audio-visual displays, including several digital stories created as part of the 'Other People's Children' project and a short film by 'Moley' whose wonderful painting of the 'Beech Tree' at the Caldecott Community was brought to life through her engaging commentary and clips of archival film footage.

od6Guests were invited to wander the idyllic grounds (and challenged to 'find the hippo!').  Wonderful food and lots of cake were enjoyed, provided by the equally wonderful kitchen team, Vicky, Steph and Libby.  Jenny and Sue of 'Sparkle Jewellery' had a small display and talked to people about their father Arthur 'Bunny' Barron's involvement in founding the Trust and their own memories of the work.  Several wall exhibits charted the evolution of the prize-winning 'Other People's Children' project, and another featured oral histories and archival images of the communities involved.  Several 'former children' from different communities came, and for many, it was the first time they had met one another. One noted the striking similarities between them all, which led to all sorts of fascinating discussion and ideas...watch this space!  

Throughout the day, invited speakers gave short talks or presentations – 'tasters' -  lasting around twenty minutes each, with time for questions, comments and lots of informal discussion afterwards.   In the morning session, Dr. Tom Harrison from the University of Birmingham talked about his earlier research into Northfield Military Psychiatric Hospital and his current PhD. interest in the recently catalogued Richard Crocket Collection.  He spoke about his long-standing relationship with the Archive and described the ways that it, and his use of it, had evolved over the years.  He remembered a time in 1985 when he recorded an interview using a radio-cassette player - this caused a 'shake of the head', and resulted in him being interviewed by Craig himself, and an upgrading in his equipment!  The road to good oral history practice!  

Phil Hawkins,  from HMP Grendon's B Wing, gave an insightful talk about therapeutic community work in the prison setting.  Outlining the variousod2 difficulties, challenges and opportunities they face and citing several examples of this in practice, he described how the therapeutic community works and the impact it has on those involved.  

PETT's Archivist and Development Officer Craig Fees closed the morning session, speaking with great enthusiasm about the treasures of experience that the Archive holds, the extremely valuable role volunteers play (and the benefits they gain), the need for funding (anyone have £6,000 to help digitise the 105 reel to reel recordings of the 1967 Dialectics of Liberation Congress?), and the huge opportunities for understanding, growth and stability which an Archive and Study Centre contains.

In the afternoon session, John Diamond, Chief Executive of the Mulberry Bush School, illustrated the history, the work and the impact of the Mulberry Bush community through a case study of one particular child.  He showed how a clear focus on the emotional and social well-being of children leads to many other positive outcomes, including educational attainment; and stressed that although the community has changed during its history, the ethos remains the same.  

John Gale and an international group of colleagues from Community Housing and Therapy in London, talked about their work and especially about their Home Base project, working with homeless former service men and women with social, emotional and other difficulties.  Reflecting on the previous speakers, John Gale noted that  although the presentations came from different organisations working with different groups - traumatised children, prisoners, and homeless ex-service personnel  - ,  they were essentially talking about a similar group of people, and that a common ethos and aim united them all.

od5Dr. Linnet McMahon, PETT trustee, author, and retired play therapist, talked about play therapy and even brought props to illustrate her presentation.  We were encouraged to 'squiggle', as Winnicott recommended; and as she held up a piece of string threaded with bobbins, we were told of a mute child, who through this aid had been prompted to declare 'Snake'.  She reminded us of the value of play for all of us, young and old, and said that surely the Open Day was proving a great example of this!

Thank you to everyone who attended and helped make this such a special and fascinating event! 

Some more photographs are available on our Facebook page, and if you have any questions, comments or feedback on this or other events - or ideas for future events -, please do get in touch!

The Planned Environment Therapy Trust has won a prestigious national award.

The Community Archives and Heritage Group (CAHG)  has named PETT 'The Most Impactful Community Archive 2011' for its Heritage Lottery Fund-supported project, "Therapeutic Living With Other People's Children: An oral history of residential therapeutic child care c. 1930 - c. 1980".  Members of the PETT project team along with students from Trinity Catholic School in Leamington Spa attended the Sixth CAHG Annual Conference at University College London on 27th June to collect the award.

The awards are a new initiative of the Community Archives and Heritage Group. Overall, CAHG received 63 nominations in six categories. The judges praised the high quality of the submissions.

 
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A Community Archives and Heritage Group spokesperson explained: "The Planned Environment Therapy Trust undertook an oral history of residential therapeutic child care from 1930 to 1980, recognising that for many children and young people the loss, invisibility and inaccessibility of records about them translates into a corresponding lack of personal foundation and certainty. The judges praised this ‘very real project’ for the significant outcomes it had achieved."

Three students from Trinity Catholic School and drama teacher Verity Naughton  addressed the conference, giving a dynamic presentation about their experience ofcahg1 the project and of their performance 'MAL-ER-JUH'S-TED'. Student Flora Garner spoke about the journey and reflected on the evolution of the process; Matthew Pettle read extracts from his book Through the Eyes of a Child;  and Mark Levien showed one of the multi media films he had devised and created as part of the performance, mentioning the contribution of fellow student Sam Knights in particular, who was not able to attend the presentation.

The three Trinity students spoke of being inspired by the people, the project and the potential for future work. They are now working towards the creation of their own Archive project about Trinity School. Historian Dr Nick Barrett was the conference keynote speaker. He spoke about the importance of family and community history, drawing on his work on the BBC programme "Who Do You Think You Are?".  He and the Trinity students got together during a break to discuss how they might develop the Trinity project. Conference delegates went on to congratulate the students on their professionalism and for the high standard of their presentation. Matt sold several copies of his book on the day (even signing a few on the way!)

CAHG is a Special Interest Group of the Archives and Records Association (which is the lead professional body for archivists, archive conservators and records managers in the United Kingdom and Ireland). It is a national group which aims to support and promote community archives in the UK and Ireland.

Trust Director Richard Rollinson noted "We're over the moon to have been awarded its ‘Most Impactful’ Community Archive Award - the first of its kind!”

He went on to say "The celebrations will continue this Sunday during the Trust's Open Day (July 1st). With the aid of some friends we are going to talk about the kind of work the Planned Environment Therapy Trust does, and ask what more we can do and how we can be doing better. We will also have some excellent cakes!" Several former children involved in the 'Other People's Children' will be attending, as we continue to build on all the work, dedication, and enthusiasm which has made all this work possible.

More images are available on our Facebook page here


CAHG_logo

THE COMMUNITY ARCHIVES AND HERITAGE GROUP (www.communityarchives.org.uk)

The Community Archives and Heritage Group (CAHG) celebrates the contribution of community archives and shares good practice. The Group is supported by the Archives and Records Association (UK & Ireland), the lead professional body for archivists and record manager.

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There were 63 submissions to the Community Archive and Heritage Group awards for 2011. The judges praised the high quality of the submissions.

There were six category winners, with Marden History Group being awarded the accolade of overall ‘Community Archive of the Year’:

Winner of ‘Most Interesting’ Community Archive and overall winner of Community Archive of the Year –Marden History Group (www.mardenhistory.org.uk)

The Marden History Group, run entirely by volunteers, worked with Kent County Council Libraries and Archives to open the Marden Heritage Centre in 2008 within the village’s public library building. The Group designed and equipped the space, which now opens for four half days each week, staffed by volunteers. A family software company – On-click – based in Marden, provided the website which has facilitated cataloguing of and access to the village’s historical records.

Winner of the ‘Most Innovative’ Community Archive – Oughterard Culture and Heritage Centre (www.oughterardheritage.org)

The Oughterard Heritage website merges images from the past and the present to illustrate the changes in the local urban landscape of this small town in County Galway. The judges considered the technique ‘inspirational’ and ‘welcoming’.

Winner of the ‘Most Inspirational’ Community Archive – Plymouth Pride Forum (www.lgbt-history.prideinplymouth.org.uk)

The ‘Pride in our Past’ project uncovered and celebrated the little-discussed lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender history of the City of Plymouth. The project team undertook oral history interviews and collected memorabilia and artefacts to help tell the story. The judges praised the way the project had ‘gathered the voices of and given a voice to often-ignored communities’.

Winner of the ‘Most Impactful’ Community Archive – Planned Environment Therapy Trust Archive and Study Centre (www.otherpeopleschildren.org.uk)

The Planned Environment Therapy Trust undertook an oral history of residential therapeutic child care from 1930 to 1980, recognising that for many children and young people the loss, invisibility and inaccessibility of records about them translatesinto a corresponding lack of personal foundation and certainty. The judges praised this ‘very real project’ for the significant outcomes it had achieved.

Winner of the ‘Best Online’ Community Archive – Oxhey Library (www.ouroxhey.org.uk)

The Oxhey website is organised by volunteers and aims to provide a sustainable forum for people to share and enjoy memories and photographs of Oxhey. With no museum and little written history, the website has provided a forum to share and celebrate and to preserve local history for future generations. The judges considered the website ‘shouted enthusiasm’ and urged all with an interest in presenting local history to ‘take a look’.

Winner of the ‘Best New Archive’ – Chorley Heritage Centre  (www.chorleyheritagecentre.co.uk)

With the ultimate aim of opening a heritage centre in the heart of Chorley, the Chorley Heritage Centre Support Group are running a ’virtual heritage centre’ to involve the community in ‘cheating the skip’ of local artefacts and ephemera, whilst publicising collections on the website. The judges said: ‘Volunteers had gone far and wide to talk to those who had stories to tell and those who could advise and give good advice. Progress had been excellent.’

In response to the Joint Report by the All Party Parliamentary Groups for Runaway and Missing Children and for Looked After Children and Care Leavers.

This Report is an important communication and deserves careful reading, discussion and action. Yet, again in the media and not least on the Today programme on Radio 4, the full tenor and detail of their communication did not get through. Instead once more the focus was entirely upon the important and lamentable failures in the provision of some residential care  and in keeping children safe from harm. Of course the report and the radio coverage of 18 June 2012 are justifiably scathing about the uncaring treatment and disregard endured by some “residents”, including the failure to protect and the inappropriateness of the placements of no small number so far from home. Those of us experienced in and knowledgeable about quality residential provision, and aware of its need and value when provided and supported well, do not and will never speak up for poor and dangerous provision.

Nevertheless, to date the overall media coverage of this subject, as in this case, results, however unintentionally, in a standardised dismissal of all residential care. And once again the entire sector becomes tarnished in the public mind due to the very broad brush of condemnation used. This is not only unfair to those providers of high quality residential care, not least in specialist settings for children and young people with very serious emotional and psychological difficulties born of their previous ill treatment, often at home. It is also unjust to the populations of children and young people themselves who desperately need a reliable environment that can keep them safe and meet their deep needs for care and treatment. There is without any doubt a population who are both unable to live healthily with themselves or others and incapable of managing to live and grow in a family setting, or even a residential setting near to their “home base”. They need an appropriate physical distance “regulation”  in order to support the social, emotional and psychological  work they must do. For some of these the family or local living might well be something they strongly seek/demand; it can also be for them the very conditions they most deeply fear and/or fight against once secured. Careful assessment and high quality alternatives must be available so wise decisions in their interests will be made.

We do not suggest the Report ignores this complexity or even the nuances for understanding how best to match often complex needs to provision. What we regret and demand ceases is the tendency from any direction in discussions, debates and planning  - while seeking to make the case against the failures by some residential providers and their local authority purchasers - to reduce serious  issues to the simplistic and judgemental level of damning the whole of a type of provision, residential care in this case. This is especially so when the provision  is much needed in its high quality, well thought out and supported form.

We also  noted with no small degrees of dismay and irony that on 18 June in the Today programme preceding and following the coverage of this Report – and with no apparent sense of the actual or potential connections between the two subjects -  there was coverage of a Report on the gross failure of government to provide for the mental health needs of the public, young or old. This policy and political dimension likely has a not small influence itself upon how residential care for many children and young people is thought about and secured, or not as the case can be. It has long been acknowledged that children's mental health is their emotional health. Joined up and non - “cost dominated”  approaches to making provision for vulnerable children and young people will do much to more reliably ensure their safety and healthy change and growth.

Richard Rollinson
Planned Environment Therapy Trust
18 June 2012