About Sue

Welcome to my website, I hope it gives a useful introduction to Sandstories. If you have any questions or would like to enquire about commissioning Sandstories for your organisation, please do get in touch with me.

I have been creating and delivering Sandstories for more than a decade and I’ve been working in child protection for 35 years.

My passion for child-centred practice and children’s rights, coupled with my huge respect for those practitioners who draw alongside vulnerable children and young people, has never faded. Not even slightly.

My background

I initially qualified as a nurse and worked in the Leeds teaching hospitals, and later trained as a social worker. I worked in local authority child protection services for 13 years, before joining the NSPCC in 1999 and working with the Society for 12 years.

I also have extensive experience of speaking to the press and media about child safeguarding and children’s rights.

I have been the independent chair of two Local Safeguarding Children Boards in the North of England and have also led and authored a number of serious case reviews.

Oh yes, and I am registered with Social Work England.

The beginning of Sandstories

After 25 years of working in child protection in the public and voluntary sectors, I made what felt like a very brave step by moving into full-time freelance work. This meant I could give my undivided attention to the next chapter of my professional life.

And so, Sandstories became my most creative expression of my professional values and core beliefs, opening extraordinary opportunities for me to work across the UK. 

I would never have guessed at the beginning of my social work career that storytelling with all sorts of visual aids would become my most fulfilling contribution to protecting vulnerable children.

The main focus of my work is the challenge of working in a child-centred way with so-called ’resistant’ families. This regular, face-to-face work with practitioners provides me with a window on the realities of multi-agency efforts to safeguard children.

This, in turn, has created for me a keen interest in a number of emerging themes, including the “moral injury” which I have witnessed being suffered by many practitioners and managers across the country.

The challenges practitioners face

Even without a global pandemic to contend with, child safeguarding services have been faced with massive challenges for years. Sandstories creates a space to acknowledge, support and affirm all of those who place themselves on the front line.

It is my privilege, even in the space of a training session, to stand alongside such colleagues from across all agencies and sectors.

My blog on this website is a new opening for me to share some of what I learn as I meet hundreds of workers across the country. I hope this will make a contribution to an expression of collective practice wisdom.

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