A Journey Through Social Work. Finding ‘The Nice’ in the Trickiest of Times.

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A Journey Through Social Work. Finding ‘The Nice’ in the Trickiest of Times.

Lin Henson shares words and emotions relating to the Social Work sector, as well as shedding light on her thoughts on why more people should/could benefit from becoming Foster Parents.
Lin and her husband are well known and loved on the UK House Music scene, going out of their way to remind everyone “You are Nice”.

[Music] good afternoon everybody Welcome along it is Inspire and be inspired it’s eight o’clock here on the Costa Blanca and we come to you again with another weekly motivational conversation um occasional life hacks uh where I get to talk to people from all walks of life it may be a music conversation or it may be uh something work related if it’s the first time you happen to be passing by then my name is Andy Ward and it is a pleasure to have your company as we are getting more people join the stream I will say to all of the crew coming back and checking out the recording please do leave comments or replies to anything that we bring up in this conversation both myself and Lynn will be happy to see that our words have reached you we are broadcasting on the official Inspire and be inspired page and it’s also going to be archived over on my YouTube channel as you can see on the screen uh if you are watching live as well feel free to comment it’s going to take us a little while for people to join the stream so I’m going to crack on and tell you all about tonight’s conversation uh you can see a flashy new camera I should be looking nice and crisp we’ve got some nice lights in the studio as well that should be a lot brighter with this new technology and I’ll be talking about that as we get to the end of the Stream a journey through Social Work finding the nice in the trickiest of times that’s the conversation I’m going to be having tonight with my esteemed guest the lovely Lynn Henson I will bring her onto the stream now Lin you are live for the world to see how are you good evening I’m well thank you that’s a very very um sheepish good evening do I find you well are you ready for this I’m ready for this I’m ready for this definitely you’re ready for this anybody that knows you will know that you’re far from shy um although at the same time I think you may have shy Tendencies from time to time is that a fair is that a fair assumption a fair uh observation yeah there’s I let other people be right in the front yeah I’m the one at the back waving that’s not that’s not how I remember you and we’ll talk about how I remember you a little later on um so I’ll say again as more and more people join us do feel free to let me know that you’re here please leave a like of the video and even share it if you can it does make a big difference I can see already that I need to change something there because the chat alerts are coming up behind you Phil Madison joins us we say hi to Phil and Kelly thank you for sharing this stream um right so Lynn a journey through social work over the course of the next however long it’s going to be we would like to find out about yourself we would like to find out about your journey in social work and we’ll also I must remember that it’s important we’re going to talk about um fostering and your very passionate uh thoughts and beliefs and wishes for more people to become involved with that as you know because you regularly support the channel you regularly comment on many of the videos that I’ve shared we’d like to make it as interactive as possible and I can see already we have people joining us uh Mrs Ward says hello beautiful um let me try and make sure this works now uh Katrina says demure okay uh scrolling down Angela says hello the lovely Lin Joanne Hill says hi and Mrs Battersby says hello everybody so thank you again for being here uh I will come back and talk to you as often as I can guys feel free to comment as much as you want so let’s get into this Lin please do tell me all about yourself uh Mrs Henson so do tell us uh who Lynn was born as and when in as roundabout away as possible well the first thing probably most people don’t know about me is that actually I’m Melinda not Lin wow okay um apparently means sweet as honey I’m not so sure but uh um yeah that was that was my my name before I went on to a school and there was another Melinda and she was like there can’t be two of us it’s going to be one of us so my name got shortened to Lynn and it just stayed that way and it kind of fitted because it was I think my nickname is one Jin Lin and at school at 11. after that I’m gonna do my very best I’m gonna do my very best to uh not talk all over you you’ll have to forgive me um what I will ask how did the chat the name change go down with the olds um I I think I had really a liberal family you know my mum was a concert pianist so she was kind of busy doing concerts and playing and didn’t quite notice probably what me and my sister were up to so we had quite a um uh a free liberal um uh probably a bit too much fun um childhood but uh yeah music was a big part of our lives but in a very different way to the kind of music that I listened to now because it was all it was all classical and so tell us a little bit about that then tell us a little bit about that life so your mum was a classical pianist and your dad so my dad was um I think he was a youth worker originally he was the first he did the first year of open University um and uh when that first existed so my memory of him was him in the study you know studying away um but he was a youth worker and and then became a sort of counselor and therapist he lives in Canada now um but um but yeah so I think that my parents left separate when I was 10. so so you were born late 60s yeah 67 160. so the so there’s kind of late 70s thing for me as uh that was an interesting time because my sister was properly into Punk and just being a few years younger so me and my friend Nikki if Josie’s watching She’s gonna kill me um you know we just used to Nick all her clothes um so we were kind of punks because my sister was a punk um but I used to secretly listen to Diana Ross and things like that when my friends weren’t around uh more motor and stuff but when my friends were around it was like had to put crafts on and Sex Pistols which I did love too but it was just a like a cacophony of noise really to to upset my mum probably more than I’ll get a reaction probably more than anything but uh um but yeah they were there were fun times so he’s always down on the south coast yeah we’ve born in London and then moved down to Margate or well Kingsgate which is kind of a little place outside of Margate um and then moved to Canterbury when I was 16 to go to college um and I was studying Nursery nursing so I’d wanted to be a nurse wanted to be like Angela do nursing and that I’d failed all my Sciences um passed all the sort of humanity subjects but science I didn’t do swelling and uh so I did Nursery nursing my aim was to be a pediatric sort of in the pediatric department looking after little babies or going nannying and travel the world that was that was what I was going to do with that and um but instead I had a baby um okay High pregnancy rate on the um Nursery nursing course figure quite quite a lot of girls I think left and had babies uh during the time I was there but uh yeah I am my son was born in 1984. so I was still 16. um and uh yeah I mean that compared to a name change I guess that got a bit more um attention from my family but not a lot more it was like lovely having a baby you know it’s all quite uh quite cash but I think that was my I guess that was the start of the time of me thinking about social work really um because at 16 having a baby one of the things that I guess people expected you not to do very well um but I loved babies so I was just in my element it was just me and my boy and uh yeah I had quite a lot of fun really um being a young mum it didn’t seem like a difficult thing at all at the time so you’d let you’d left you’d left home or were you because I do recall we had a very brief conversation and you said you found yourself back home so um yeah so I was kind of um so I yeah I’d lived away from home for a little while then gone back home when I realized I was pregnant I didn’t tell my mum that I was pregnant when I went back home I just said oh can I come can I come with you and she was just buying a house in Canterbury so I moved into a basement flat in in Canterbury um in fact I remember house hunting with her knowing I was pregnant and um and one house she looked at it had a sort of like fantastic attic room but there was this tiny you know ladder in this little hole to get up into the room she was like oh that’d be great if you you’re staying or you you’re going to be here I’m thinking I ain’t going to get through that in a few months wow yeah I kept all of that to myself quietly to myself until um I think it was too late for there to be any discussion about what might be done um and uh yeah my son was born in in July 84. um I’m just I just something caught my attention I’m sorry to to distract you um Sarah basby says I have so much in common with you Lynn and uh Beverly is a green as well so this is stuff obviously you’ve you guys have maybe already spoken about before at length there’s a few of us out there yeah I’m trying to uh read more of these comments so I can uh keep up with them without having to uh interrupt you do me a favor put that piece of paper down stop fidgeting with it it’s really coming through like the microphone I didn’t always say it’s all right uh I’d rather tell you now than the narrow into the conversation okay so um let’s skirt very quickly over the fact that uh there must have been uh somebody else in the picture oh what’s gonna uh there must have been someone else in the picture for the baby to come along um tell us about that that part of your life particular conception and like right no that yeah so my um my boyfriend at the time was the eight or nine years older than me quite a lot a lot older than me um and um he was just utterly horrified that uh that I was pregnant and his first reaction was we’re obviously not going to keep it um and my reaction to that was yeah I am so sod off with that sort of thing um and didn’t really give him much of a chance to kind of backpedal on that um so um I just decided I would do it on my own um and and I did okay that was the end of that pretty much that was the end of that and um although um I’d always said you know this is your son and you can have as much um contact with him and much time with him as you as you want to um he very he was very sporadic about it what it did a little bit and then didn’t and then did a little bit and then didn’t and you know I know their friends on Facebook but I think they very rarely see each other oh well they haven’t seen each other for years and years and years probably 15 years or so from the I think I tried to help them keep that contact but um yeah it was uh wasn’t wasn’t easy so you’re having to you’re having to force it okay so um I guess late teens into your 20s then the nursery nursing didn’t work um but what I did was I said that I could stay at home and look after my son I um a child-minded um I worked in a restaurant in the evenings when I could get uh child care and um but most importantly I was I was able to stay at home with my son because I looked after it I nannied I looked after another little boy from when he was 12 weeks old till he was four and then did the same again with another child um but one of the things I also did in that time was I bumped into a youth worker who’s putting up her notice in a um in the library uh that said uh about a sort of teenage teenage mothers group or teenage yeah teenage parents group and um she said to me um because I was there with my baby I was obviously at the library getting books or something and uh and she said that she really needed someone to help her set up this group um you know would I be interested um because I’d asked her what it was about um which was really clever of her because if she’d have said are you interested in coming along I just said I don’t need anything like that I’m fine thanks I can do it all on my own um but because she’s she asked for help whether I would be interested in being involved in it I I went along and of course that was just to get me to go along she realized that I was obviously very young and um uh and and and this teenage mother’s group was kind of formed um and I carried on going it was just once a week sort of a drop in for a couple of hours um but then she left she had she moved to Devon and uh I wanted to keep the group going there was a few of us there not very many um but I just kept up I just kept I was in the newspaper saying there’s a group for us young mums come along be part of it help me you know get something going and from that I met a friend who I’m still friends with now um someone that had actually been in hospital when I had Josh so it’s like I kind of recognized her um but that group became went from two hours a week to three days a week as a drop-in center for parents under the age of 21. so tell me tell me a little bit about what what that entailed to someone who wouldn’t have experienced that what would have happened in in the group just to support a support network it was it was it was kind of a support it was a place for um young people to come who were parents but allowing them a space to be young people we got we had a crash facility so that our babies and children could be looked after and so the focus would be on us as young people about our needs about what we wanted to do with our lives um a lot of the girls that came along and they were all women I mean it was open to any parent under 21 but they were all women lots of their issues were about um struggle with Finance housing um trying to get work a lot of them had Partners who or boyfriends that were in prison lots of very troubled um young people there and I kind of ran this group not knowing what I was doing hearing their stories just filled me full of horror that they some of these young women were in such a difficult situation um and I had my own home at that by that time I was 18. I’d I’d bought my own house um and um I I just my house looked like a women’s Refuge because I just hear their stories about the what they were suffering and what was happening for them at home and I just kind of like they’d come back to mine and bring them in bring them in I kind of thought I really want to do this I want to work with families I want to work with children but I don’t know what the bloody hell I’m doing and I think I need some help with this because I don’t I you know I knew that I wasn’t founded and I was just we were we’re all in it together um and I thought this is what I want to do as a career to work with people um but I think I need some I need I need some qualifications so um I just I then went and did an a level part-time one night a week I did a one night a week access course into uni and then I did a part-time social psychology and social policy degree um which then led me finally when Josh was 10 so it was 94 uh to full-time masters degree program with the diploma in social work so and the women’s group had carried on learning all that time um and and continue to after I after I left so um you know it was a it was a great thing that carried on but um yeah that was that was really my route into social work because partly because you know I I knew I needed to support myself my son and keep a roof overhead and I wanted to do more than just look after one baby at a time nannying and working in restaurants I think I had a cleaning job as well I don’t know how I did it all really I was studying looking after my son well it makes me tired I think it’s thinking of it really but um but social work always really um it had such a bad press you know I don’t know if you remember in the 80s um what was the um the joke um what’s the difference between a Rottweiler and a social worker it’s easier to get your kids back off a social worker off a Rottweiler it was the whole point you know because it was when the Rottweilers were getting a really bad press at attacking children and so what what was the misconception tell us about the music because my only when I think of social worker I’m probably getting it completely wrong I’m thinking of like a bloke with liver patches on his elbows and a three jacket or maybe I’m thinking about a history teacher I don’t know so you know I don’t I’ve never really uh had much um you know contact with with that that area in life so uh you know to the uninitiated tell us the misconceptions they used to be seen as a bunch of old hippies really with the open-toed sandals and um driving a Citroen 2cb or something that was a that was the kind of image but I think in the 80s and the 90s there became more and more um press about children being removed from parents you know in a way that they shouldn’t be or then they would there was um you know children would dying and then the Press would be you know social workers hadn’t done enough so the whole sort of image of Social Work has always been um different to if you’re thinking in you know we all have the experience of being in some sort of education system and that’s Universal Police are Universal in that you know either people know that they’re there to protect you or um and and of course with health that we all use the Health Service but social workers are kind of is is is uh is is set aside it’s for a different group of people other than ourselves is you know most middle class people would would think um other than if they want to adopt children so I think I think the image of Social Work has always been either people who are over interfering in other people’s lives or they’re not doing enough to protect vulnerable children and and and and finding that line where actually you know you are doing you are both protecting chill vulnerable children um and being utterly respectful and um supportive of of people’s right to a private life and and to a family life trying to get that balance the balance between intervention and empowering people to to live their their very best lives so I think right because by the very nature of the um the roles of social workers there does tend to be some kind of trauma or some kind of issues where the intervention is needed so um that would have led you down a path where invariably you were you were dealing with um troubled if not um single parents definitely the the product of broken um poems and that would eventually you know rub off on the children right yeah for sure and as someone that might you know came from a broken home as a Teenage mum and you know that I might have had all sorts of ticks against me that might have meant that uh I would need um uh Social Work intervention and in fact I actually did get support from um Social Services I think when Josh was about two I asked for some help I said I’m you know I need I need to have some time I’m a teenager I need to have some time that’s just for me and they actually helped support and fund a place at Nursery School two days a week um so that gave me some time that then I could start studying and you know so I had seen them as being a support a support service rather than as something punitive um but obviously um you know if you’re working in child protection that’s a uh that and you’re on the other side of that that can feel very different so yeah I think I think when I in my studies I am I was lucky to have placement in both in the probation service so I you know I was a probation officer for six months um at the age of 25 or something um what age group were you dealing with um from 18 up to uh I think my eldest client was in his late 60s you know I mean I had a guy who used to like fax me to say he couldn’t make it into his appointment you know his businessman and you know in the days of factors um and and you know I’d see him driving around in his his Jag but he’d have to come in and and have a weekly session with his probation officer to his 25 year old student I can’t imagine uh what what he thought about that really um but uh you know I worked with you know starting off in probation I worked with sort of offenders you know with a huge range of offenses from very minor offenses and Diving offenses um to you know sex offenders and fire Setters and um yeah so the whole gamut really um but from that placement I then went on to um have a placement in child protection um and uh and did some some work in the fostering team as well um and both of those combined really led me to want to work with young offenders um I enjoyed the probation but I wanted to work with young people wanted to work with kids so my first job in social work was uh yeah working for the Youth offending service um which was fantastic I mean there’s nothing like working with kids who really really don’t want to be in a room with you you know that would that fills me with Dread that feels moved red I had enough I had enough struggles in my own mind with my own kids let alone with the troubled kids on the outside your your patience you have someone made a comment earlier actually I can see on the screen Beverly said I always knew you were an angel I mean such a such a noble a noble position to put yourself in tell us about some of the circumstances some of the situations you’ve found yourself uh uh I mean it’s a really interesting thing isn’t it because when uh you know when the police go out to a dangerous situation they’ll always be two of them you know when when a social worker sent out or a patient officer is sent out to to visit a young person in the home in often in really difficult living in really difficult circumstances you know we go on our own um and I used to turn up I’d be the courts with sentence want to sentence a young person to custody and before that they could do that they wanted something called pre-sentence report and that would come to the youth Justice team and I would get you know a name and address and I’d have to turn up to wherever this this kid lived with you know in in whatever circumstances they’re in and say hi I’m here to do a report on you before you are sentenced um or obviously visited them in prison if they were remanded um and then have to get them to tell their story and and and look at the reasons why they’ve committed those offenses the circumstances they were living in and then make a recommendation for sentence um and then we would work with those kids if they were given a uh you know a two-year or three-year probation order or if they were in prison we’d visit them and support them and support them through out into the community the other side with the sole aim of whatever we recommended was to reduce the risk of them reoffending and that was that was the reason for us being there but you know those kids the reason they were offending I mean they had no reason not to really is how I saw it for a lot of them and you know the five years that I worked with those young people more and more you could see that the family circumstances they were living in and the fact that they really didn’t have any anyone rooting for them and sticking by them time and time and time again which is what all kids need um yeah if you just remove something again so many of them have been in care so many of them you know so um I guess that was one of the reasons I then went into fostering that and I you know we used to have I mean we used it was crazy some of the things we did I remember I used to do out of hours um Court work on a Saturday so you’d have a kid reminded custody on Friday night they’d have to appear in court on a Saturday morning and if they were under a certain age they couldn’t remind them to prison they had to remind them to Local Authority accommodation and if their offenses were very serious which they tended to be um which is why they were sort of there over the weekend um they would remind them to a secure unit so I don’t you know most people sort of think of Prisons but there’s also secure units where they keep young people who who are you know under you know maybe 15 16 or 14. we lived near one in Birmingham I know there’s a very famous one in erdington there is I’ve been to it yeah so I’ve been the whole country used to we used to go up and down the whole country because there weren’t very many of them but like there was one occasion where this kid was committed really serious defense it was quite a dangerous young person and they have him in the sales they bring him up to the court they remind him to local Authority accommodation and we get the order for a secure unit I then as the out of our social worker for the Youth Justice service have to then find a secure unit to take him somewhere in the country and then wait for the escorts to come and get them and at this time so they were so they did that I’d managed to find a secure unit they were taking it was in Oxfordshire we were at that point down in Dover and so they had to come from there so um the people that hold them in the cells that have been privatized so I can’t remember who they were something connect for whatever they called I can’t remember group four or something uh the judge says right you know the magistrates say right he’s over to you um the people that hold him in the cells say we can no longer hold him he’s now reminded to the local Authority you’re the local Authority here he is so they’ve bought this kid up to the court with three guards you know to keep an eye on him they’ve had they’ve had him locked it locked up and then they just give him to me handcuffed not restrained no no no no no no no they give him to me and I have to wait for a driver and two escorts because they decide he’s quite dangerous and he probably won’t behave himself in the car and two escorts to come and get him but in the meantime they won’t hold him in the cells because they’ve got no grounds to he’s now over to the local Authority so we just sit on the sit on the wall you know outside and I say you know you’re hungry so yeah go get something to eat I go and get him something to eat we’re sitting there and he sort of looks around and he says so I could just run couldn’t I and in fact yeah you couldn’t in these shoes honey I’m not gonna run after you ah if you do when they catch you next time they won’t remind you to local Authority accommodation you’re being Felton so I just you know it would be better for us to hang out than than for you to do that and and you know he he just sat there and he he was absolutely fine the magistrates they’re leaving for the day they’re like the biggest belief Beggars belief doesn’t it because uh some of the tales that we heard before from um the situations that other workers and for Angela’s story for example in the NHS some of the stories that you get told there you think how how is that possible and then as as the years go on I’m sure situations get worse and worse let me just say very quickly uh djps here good evening sir uh he says group four you got there in the end with that thank you um I’m uh believe this is a friend of yours Josie Scott says you are a very very patient Angel that’s my sister ah hi hi Josie he’s in New Zealand oh really it’s the early morning she’s just got up good morning um okay so there are so many different situations so many um circumstances you know so many events that you you could real life but you mentioned something there about fostering that we we wanted to really highlight you wanted to get into that because there’s um I use the same phrase with Angela as well when um you know she found her calling you there was something in you that you just felt you clearly needed to to offer you you fat you were that vulnerable person yourself at one point and you wanted to offer some Solace for other people to tell it tell us about that well the the route to fostering or going to work working in fostering really did come from working with all those young people so many of them in custody a huge proportion of them had been in the care system and at 16 were out of the care system had no one sort of seeing you know still supporting them and you only have to look at your own children in their teams to know that they don’t they don’t stop needing full care when they’re 16 far from it it’s almost that’s when they need more and although I was independent at that age and was able to be I did still have family love and support and that kind of belief that you can do anything and that’s why I think I was able to to do what I did and bring up my son at a young age but these kids just have nobody they have absolutely no one and you know one of you know I remember going to see a family a young man who was on a probation order at the age of he was 16 and I went to his home on Christmas Eve um to do a visit and there was one Christmas card on the mantle piece one Christmas card and it was from me it was from his you know as his as his social worker it was really you know depressing really um he just had nobody and I I think the fostering thing you know what what families can bring or individuals can bring to the lives of children is just it’s immeasurable um and I just thought I want to work with Foster carers to see if I can support them well enough that they when they are looking after a teenager like these kids um that they can be supported not to give up because it’s really hard to hang on in there with these because they will push and push and push they don’t trust anyone they don’t trust adults I mean I you know why would they because if you imagine that your parents if your parents can abuse you or reject you then anyone can you know if your own birth parents of your own birth family give up on you or harm you then then anyone can do that so you know that they just had such little trust in adults um and I think foster care is at that time weren’t really recognized you know the the role that they they weren’t well supported they weren’t well enough trained um they certainly weren’t well enough paid to be giving up work and doing what they were doing and I think it really showed you know in the in the way that they gave up as well you know people really didn’t look after them and and so they they might have given up earlier on children so um so they started off with all the right intentions but eventually uh their their will was breaking that broken down exactly that and actually like you know I there I was working in the youth offending service and that um and I had a kid that was reminded to local Authority care um uh not not to a secure unit but to foster care because if they felt that their offending was related to their home circumstance um they could they could remind them to Local Authority foster care um and placing these kids so they’re offending you know they’re all over the place trying to get Foster carer to take them was pretty tricky you know because most Foster carers were coming into it to look after a nice sweet little one or you know Sibling Group or something so um there I was kids sitting there in my office and I’m having to ring around every single foster carer foster care agency because there’s independent agencies and Charities like bernardo’s that they also have Foster carers so once once you’ve used up all your resources in the local Authority trying to find a foster carer you then go to the outside agencies so you go to bernardo’s you go to the independent agencies that might be profit might be not for profit and it goes on your big list and I get I don’t know right to the bottom and I ring this little agency a small service that have been set up and the person that answered the phone was the guy who had been the overall director of the youth project of which the women’s the young women’s group was part of so it was like oh that’s where you went you became a social I go yeah you’re there how great and you know I’m talking to him and I’m saying yeah but have you got a place for this young man that you know needs um and as it was they didn’t have any vacancies but um he he kept my number rang me back I did manage to get a place for that young man eventually um and but but Matt rang me back um and said look you know big rates come you know to see you um in fact we’re actually looking for a senior practitioner we’re looking for a social worker to work with us in our fostering service uh not-for-profit organization lovely ethos and values and the reason he’d set that up service up is because as director of the youth project but the women’s group was part of there was an under-21’s coffee bar uh that basically worked with under 21s who were homeless and he was seeing the same thing he was seeing all these homeless young people that had been in the care system and he said he thought this enough is enough you know there needs to be foster carers that will be extra supported extra trained extra looked after so that they will hang on in there with these kids and when they get to 16 or get to 18 they don’t have to leave home they can stay with those families and those were the people who tried to recruit and and was fairly successful at it so so yeah they were tiny then I went out he yeah so that was I went and visited them he invited me to lunch it’s a bit cheeky invited me to lunch when it happened to be the Foster carers training day so all the Foster carers were there and once I met them all there was just no way I couldn’t go and work with them really so that was how I came came to work in within fostering um and uh I mean it gives it it does warm the heart to hear that story and it gives you hope but then as as time progresses I’m sure it must be an incredible roller coaster of emotions the highs and the lows I can’t even imagine the the this you know the actual as I say their whole range of emotions that you must go through dealing with the different circumstances and you think okay there’s light at the end of the tunnel here and then you come up against a a situation uh bureaucracy red tape bashing your head against the brute wall you know you must feel sometimes that the system has failed you right yeah I mean I think it’s interesting because as a as someone working um you know as a social worker in that environment supporting Foster carers matching children with carers moving children onto adoption um that’s all the kind of wonderful part of it and and what you’re in it for but there’s all the other stuff like you say all the bureaucracy um the the absolute stretch on resources and um and and and the the amount of work that you have to do in in a very limited amount of time um and you have to get it right because if you don’t get it right it’s catastrophic for those families and for those children um but have you ever seen that Stretch Armstrong you know that’s Stretch Armstrong very 70s very 70s story it really felt at times like there’d be like one arm would be stretched out and that would be the needs of the children you know which was absolutely Paramount and then on the other hand you’ve been pulled and stretched into another Direction by ofsted who are coming in to inspect and you know um putting a different level of pressure and then the other stretch with the whole funding issues and um and then you know the other arm being or leg being pulled in in a direction in terms of what the team and the you know the social workers needed and the whole team around the child needed and you know and it you know it was a it’s a fantastic role but you are you have many hats on to many people so you’re there to support you know the families without a doubt you’re there to support the children um that’s that’s the the first thing that you’re there to do but it’s all the other bits people don’t with so much responsibility um with so much responsibility weighing so heavy on your shoulders it’s not something that you look at the clock at five o’clock and you and you clock out and you go home and and you don’t you don’t bring your work home with you because it’s it’s cut I’m assuming it’s with you constantly all the time yeah I mean for the first 10 years working and fostering um was it ten years about the first ten years I think it was on call every three every other week for the first six years or so and then we got another social worker and then it could be every third week and that would be on call sort of all night and all weekend after working all week so I mean basically I just never turned my phone off so my work phone was on day and night um I’m not just getting a message just getting a message here from Becky Becky Askew she said you were still much loved and missed it Casper we carry on your good work okay so I’m just looking at some notes Here work working along the um we covered you I asked you earlier if there are any main points that we wanted to focus on we we covered about the the bad press that show social workers um received and over time uh you would did you you must have felt that you know you were getting somewhere and then there’d be a tragic circumstances in the papers of whatever I mean there’s automatically a few cases that spring to mind whether recently or over the last 15 or 20 years and you kind of coming back around again yeah exactly that and I think I think you know the the I think that’s the the always in every social workers in the back of the in the back of my mind through my whole career has been the you know what if this is uh you know the one if this is a child that I can’t protect you know um you know that’s always in the back of our minds and we and we we swing so many different ways I mean particularly with children who are in care I mean when I first started working in fostering um the guidance for foster carers were you know that they they shouldn’t cuddle the children you know or that if they were bathing children they should have swimming trunks on you know small children you know because this fear of uh the fear of abuse the fear of being accused of abuse you know the whole sort of safeguarding around children had sort of swung from they’re hardly being any um to suddenly these these huge sort of rules that were being put in place to supposedly Safeguard Foster carers um but but also to safeguard children and and it meant that children weren’t being taught and shown what Safe Touch is and what’s safe you know cuddles are because they’d experienced something so different um possibly before coming into care um and and you know when I’ve kind of been doing this for 25 26 years and you see a constant swing of um you know relaxing of um it rules if you like and and boundaries around because because it feels like it’s safer and and better for children to live in a in that environment and then something goes wrong and then we get a whole new set of legislation a whole new set of rules or a whole new set of guidance and we and we go back uh back the other way so who’s making those decisions because well you’d think that people would learn from from the past well in words haven’t you but without getting political I mean look at you know the whole the whole the mistakes are made over and over and over again aren’t they you know um uh so a lot of it is I mean I’m the least political person I’m the least qualified to make any political um commentary but I I would assume that a lot of it is just point scoring right people saying the right things um what’s the word they’re just uh lip service you know just because they believe that that’s what’s got to be done I mean the reality and is that every time every time there is a a child’s death every time something goes wrong there is an inquiry we’ve had 100 500 over 500 I think um child death inquiries you know reports out and every time that happens there’s learning that comes from that and that learning is shared across the whole profession and we might adjust our our training and our practice to do with that and then it fades again and is there ever any difference in what you learn is there ever been a I mean surely so the messages are the same the failings are always the same it’s always um that you know particularly um where awful things are happening to Children it tends to be a lack of communication between all the people that are involved in that child’s life so the teachers didn’t report something or health visitors or doctors or you know but it’s always a social worker so as a social services that that will get the blame if something goes wrong so I guess the Buckle We’re stopped through social services but in instead of us seeing and it’s not just in child protection it’s in all that actually it’s it’s all of our responsibility isn’t it to make sure that children are well and happy and and living the best lives they can you know the whole kind of community bringing up a child thing it’s it we’ve lost that um so much of that you know the whole no ball games outside uh you know on on the green instead of people just letting kids play and joining in with that and I and I think you know when children go into foster care foster carers do have a fantastic support network and they do have a fantastic Community around them and they support each other you know maybe if the investment and time and energy and and money went into supporting families way earlier before children ever needed to come into care uh we wouldn’t have so much many children in the care system so Angela says a very um Clear Point the turnover of Staff contributes to the learning being lost and uh this and Sarah Battersby says the services are still struggling to be joined up so um yeah it must be it must be so so terribly frustrating um but as you say I having friends who are uh foster parents Foster carers what what’s how do you well it’s a really interesting one the the language thing because uh for some some organization call all their Foster carers Foster carers some organizations call them foster parents some children like to refer to them as parents mum and dad or foster parents some children would prefer the title Foster carer so you know there isn’t a right or wrong it depends on who you who you’re working for or or what what you like to be called if you’re a foster carer or foster parent so there isn’t one we’ve never been able to decide what’s the right one well we focused um I believe I feel we focused a little bit uh on some of the issues that you faced um but you’ve also covered some of the you know the the joy the the success stories that you know that that you’ve enjoyed throughout the many many years that the the sense of achievement the sense of you know you we had a conversation again um I’ll mention again and you you talked about you’d like to think of the good that you’ve done for so many different children down the years and tell us a story where you you said you bumped into somebody who’s in her early 30s now and she’d said that uh because of the way that you’d you treated her you you had kind of changed her life I think yeah her life has uh uh yeah there’s um there’s one young woman that I am still in contact with um and I’ve known her since she was six she had lots and lots of different moves in her life and a lot of loss um and her foster mum actually uh passed away when she was 16. so um yeah she had quite a struggle but she’s doing really well and I I just said to her how how have you done this so fantastic how have you and she said you just never gave up on me Lynn it just always tried something else when things were going wrong and I didn’t you know I didn’t want to do anything and I you just always you never gave up you always talked about and thought about what else could you do for me and um and that made the difference so I guess that’s you know I didn’t know that at the time and you know um as you know I also remember a kid who I I worked with for two years who never once looked me in the eye he used to hang his head he hardly said anything he just grunted um it was on a two-year probation order he was in the youth Justice service and he wrote to me uh years later saying you made such a difference in my life and it’s like you never even looked at me sure so so I always say to people you never know if you are going to be someone that you know we I think we can all think back to our own teenage years and uh you know or a young adulthood and think of someone that maybe inspired us you know for me I it was a it was a teacher at the tech college who was doing a lip when I was doing a-level sociology and she said to me I was a young single mum living in a cancer state in London and it was through education that I managed to you know now I’m headed department at this college and she said and I see that in you you know I see you have the potential to to do anything you want to do um and no one had ever really said it like that to me and you know I really am I’m grateful to her Sybil name was um thank you we don’t know do we if we’re going to be that person for someone else and you know Foster careers obviously get that opportunity to make their most enormous difference to Children um and and you know and for the rest of their lives um in all their relations you teach them how to to be cared for and to love and and you know that that’s a really special thing but you know it’s not just Foster carers that do that it’s anyone any adults can can come into a young person’s life and and make a difference to them and you never know if if you’re doing that at the time but but hold in mind that you might be [Music] um that’s what I say well everything that you’ve done is has been with um with a with a big heart and you know it’s been it has been hugely rewarding and and uh it it shows by the friends that you have around you and the company that you keep you know um so let’s talk about some of the the company that you keep uh somewhere down the line when your son was older you uh you know always been into music the opportunity arose for you to be able to uh think okay you know what I want to go out and dance yeah well one new lot we’re all raving like mad I was you know studying and looking after my son and doing things you know being a house wife person um so it wasn’t really until I was 40 that I discovered I think my first Southport was probably when I was 40 um dance Weekender um well actually I went to IB yes I went to Ibiza um met up with a group of people who told me about Southport so I went to Southport from Southport discovered since you be um and as you know you know kind of went went to all of those um I think last year was the first year that I didn’t know this year’s the first year I didn’t go um but um but but and and from that discovered vocal booth uh and uh but that’s where that’s where our paths would have crossed initially at since I beat um the uh I I enough jokes about this with yourself and mark on a few occasions I always recall because you was always so happy so bubbly so smiley right at the front you say you’re always in the back but you weren’t because I all I have a vivid memory for you right up the front in the speakers having the time of your life in this red and white polka dot bikini I vividly remember it and uh and then the next and then I think it was the year after um yeah I was I’m not familiar with the actual years that it it was but then I think it was the year after you introduced me to Mark I mean we just we got talking in passing as uh you know uh comrades on the dance floor and then uh the next time I would I would get to talk to Mark so tell us about how you guys met oh well we well we met uh uh just uh locally in whitstable I was I was on and we’ve been seeing each other for a little while I remember walking down to work and looking up and there’s a you are nice poster on the wall vandalism mindless vandalism my mind is vandalism indeed um but uh yeah that first year that Mark and I were together I’d already booked to go to Southport uh and go to Croatia as well so um and you know all the tickets were sold out and the places were full and I was going with girlfriends so he had to kind of wave goodbye to me and it was like yeah but next year you’ll you’ll be with me and I think that was 2012. um 2013 maybe but um yeah I remember thinking God what what if he doesn’t like it because this is just I love this I love this so much um and of course he just loved every moment and everyone loved him and uh you know I didn’t know for quite a long time that he DJ’d for 12 years in Bristol he’d always you know he made homemade decks or something and you know when he was still living in whitstable so he’s been playing music and and enjoying that for you know a lifetime really but uh more more a kind of tech tech house boy he’s got he’s got such a soul in him well I’m sure people will have seen him in the background um we were I am at some point gonna be talking to Mark as he has he has his own interesting story so I’ll say hello Mark and then we’ll forget about Mark because we we want to we want to shine yeah we want to shine the light on yourself so you guys were then going to uh Sensei beat um loving it there as I say most most of the people who are watching this will be more than more than aware of you both and uh if they ever see a sticker you are nice and all of the photos that’s that’s your trademark so that also just goes to reflect you know you always going out trying to spread Joy everywhere you go right and I think that I mean that though it was just about to spread the niceness you know there’s just so so much in this world that is is difficult and uh and I think yeah it’s spreading a little bit of Joy just it’s amazing how people just love a sticker and they’re great I mean not huge expense but there is still expense involved for you to actually do it you know so we don’t we don’t we don’t get so many now it’s when we were both working I’m not working so much now and uh yeah it’s uh I’ve had a bit of a life change but um but yeah we’re still we’re still spreading up there was like there was uh that awkward shift in the seat there when you you mentioned about the the life change uh we we you know uh there are many years that you’ve uh worked uh in the field that you have done uh you made a You made a comment to me that all of the um the trauma that you’ve had to deal with down the years um it hasn’t it doesn’t come without its own um circumstances you you felt a lot of that pressure sometimes right when you take the work home with you I think so and I just think I think the adrenaline and the kind of the the pace that you work you you know for so many years you know without stopping um I think it does take its toll a little bit and and you know as as you know Andy I’ve you know I was diagnosed with a brain tumor just uh two years ago um now that’s not caused by stress at work but the thing about continuously never stopping and giving yourself a break I think um does take a toll on you on your General Health anyway um and and you know all the social workers and nurses I know and people that have been in that field you know do do live a pretty unhealthy Lifestyle on the whole because you’re carrying you know because of the stress that you’re carry maybe um and I think I you know I knew that I couldn’t work to the level that was needed um whilst going through uh radiotherapy treatment or just carrying the load of actually you know what this tumor might mean from for me and my life and and so I’ve taken a step back from the work and uh you know I chair Vice chair um uh panels and reviews for foster carers independently and so I still keep my hand in and I see how those families are doing and it’s a lovely lovely bit of work but without all this the the pressure and stress of being responsible for the safeguarding of all the children that are in the organization that I work for so it’s it’s taken a step back and uh yeah I think that’s quite good for my well-being but you made a comment um when I when we were talking with Angela uh she expressed some um guilt I think she said about not being able to be on the front line at certain times and you also you also made the same um comment that you know you you you have that desire that need sometimes to be more Hands-On yeah yeah I really I really that really resonated with me when Angela said that um because I I moved um into management um as managing services and um but I still were I still felt that I was actually working directly with families as well I was able to do that but obviously um you know the last two years I I haven’t been doing that um and that was through a pandemic when I know the pressure was really on for social workers and and families um looking after children you know none of that works stopped when everything else closed down um and of course children weren’t going to school so they were they were there weren’t as many people you know offering care and support um Foster carers were much more isolated with those families you know with those children as were families that had children at home that needed support and yeah I I and I wasn’t doing any of that um and and yeah I feel at a time where it was really really needed but I actually for the first time in my life I thought I look after myself self maybe first is needed now so um most definitely well um you you mentioned uh about the the diagnosis that that came to two years ago you say no um I have I’m just reading a few people here have been passing by and sending you some love and uh and I gotta say hi to Wendy and to Jane for passing through thank you for being here ladies um the uh I know you you made it over to Spain with us this year so you are taking it easy um for anybody that that won’t be aware of of yourself and the journey that you’ve been on in recent times um how how are you feeling how are your energy energy levels are you doing well your spirit is high yeah my spirit is pretty high I mean I’ve had them I had treatment in June radiotherapy does take its toll in terms of sort of fatigue which is kind of different to being tired it’s it’s more like jet lag you just hit a wall and can’t do anything really body feels like weight and it’s still happening from time to time but not not definitely not as much um and I have a new I have neuropathic pain that I live with all the time now from the tumor but um um so yeah on medication for that which makes you a bit a bit weary in the morning but it’s all manageable given how I structure my life now and that’s the thing it’s you know we are amazing creatures that we can adapt um to All Sorts can’t we and uh you know coming out to Spain going to vocal booth and still being able to do that um was just fantastic but you know I I missed several you know I missed the Friday I missed the Sunday because those days I just needed to rest or sleep um but no one would notice you know on the outside everything kind of looks might look the same but uh yeah it is a shift it is different I’m used to being all the time and now I’m like hmm there’s a small area smaller amount of energy but I use it well yeah well you think you you definitely you definitely managing it you’re definitely in a better place and you know with that that man by your side behind you he’s definitely uh definitely giving you a lot a lot of support I am very lucky to have the nicest husband in the world and uh and some lovely friends and and family that are really supportive and you know I mean I’m I’m I’m just I am I think living my best life that I possibly could live uh given what’s happened I I feel really lucky that I am in a position where I can take the pension um from the years of working and I you know 55 I didn’t think I’d be kind of semi-retired but I am and it’s and it’s absolutely fine um I love my work and I miss some of it um but I I I know the benefits of what the work that I’ve done over the years Still Still resonates I know it’s still there um and that that’s the most important thing really wow without a show of a doubt I’m just looking down at some notes that I I’ve made one of the points from us talking um off air was that uh you never gave up you always you know did whatever that you could all the way through there um and you have most definitely left your legacy without a shadow for that uh and as you say more than you probably can be aware of yourself um and then I recovered about the fostering and uh we we cleared up the uh any negative energy and any negative press because it’s it’s everything is is coming from a just a place of of pure love and desire to make things better for everybody on the whole would you where would you say without being political where would you say the whole social care system is at at the moment is it in a better place is it in a bad place on it on its knees just the same as my National Health Service on their knees the people that are working within those services are doing the very best they can with with more and more and more needed and less and less resources and people are leaving in droves just as they are the Health Service um and it and it’s a it’s a huge shame I mean in terms of foster care is there’s a huge shortage and always has been a shortage of foster carers that want to look after particularly teenagers or very large sibling groups um I mean if I had a magic wander all the money and resources would go into really really supporting families in those early years not waiting for the crisis when they cannot cope or they’ve harmed their children because they are just unable to get the help they need to come off drugs or alcohol or you know abuse or get out of poverty or whatever reasons that they might find themselves in um but that just isn’t that never happens it’s not it’s not it’s not it’s not good politics to put loads and loads of money into early years because you don’t see the benefit of that until those children are grown up and are not in prison you don’t see it so politically it’s it just it it never happened um and uh and and that’s a that’s a crying shame but you know having said all of that I think it still is and can be the absolute best job in the world to go you know to work in social work there’s so many different areas you can be in um it’s a fantastic career and and and the people that you work with and the team the team around you um as what what keeps you going for most most part and I know the Foster carers will say the same is there is there foster care of colleagues you know the people that around them that support them that make make it possible to hang on in there and seeing how well the children do when they’re given that you know love and care and opportunity but yeah it makes me sad that we can’t do more for children and their families in the first place so they don’t need so you know so many of them don’t need to come into care hmm what can we do ah it’s uh it’s a it’s it’s funny like did you say about a magic wand earlier if only you had a magic one [Music] uh well as I’m sitting listening to your very passionate words uh as I did say to you everybody is just a heaping praise upon you they’ve been sharing the stream um there are lots of comments uh Wendy says she agrees with you about recruiting for foster carers we are absolutely desperate for them up in Leeds um and Jane is telling you how proud of you she is um Mrs bathurstby he’s still so much passion from the Professionals in the field but they’re up against it at every turn and uh Angel joins us saying thank you I’ve shared this with a few of my friends so they can watch it back too as I did say we always get a lot of people coming back back and watching the recordings so uh is there still a you are nice website active Mark is there are you a nice website darling no no there isn’t but I’m sure there will be stickers around at some points I think there was this thing there was this sign of like a a kind of thing that it was our brand or something like it was a a kind of business or it was just a fun it was just a bit of fun we ended up I know we did some T-shirts once and just for ourselves and and for a few friends and then and then there was one Sensei beat where we just kept getting messages saying can you do us a T-shirt and we we’ve got a press at home and we had this it was like a factory in this room it was just crazy of us doing t-shirts you know I was like buy having to buy T-shirts and vests from h m or something and then and then we’d be sitting there weaving out there it’s the badges do I remember badges at some point yeah we did badges uh last year at vocal boo that was our our first year with badges because we we kind of had this thing about the environment and with the stickers and they fall off and what if they wash into the sea or something you know so um but um yeah yeah um uh poor djp says you you need to be upgraded from nice to amazing that’s my word incredible incredible I use that word a lot um Lin uh Melinda we have been talking for as I did say we’ve been talking would you believe for an hour and 12 minutes we’ve gone over that’s all right there’s no limit um is there any final words that we can uh leave I think you’ve you’ve done a great service uh to uh to the cause I think you’ve you’ve been a great advertisement um and at some point my my aim the whole aim of doing these conversations is that someone comes across them uh finds out a little bit more about you and uh you never know what it’s going to inspire and your legacy has been uh picked up just a little bit more a little little Notch further so thank you for that I did start to get around before I waffled off is there anything that I’ve missed anything extra that you want to add I have to say the thing that is all that’s kept me going um through throughout Social Work of you know as well as the support of lovely colleagues and great supervision and all of those things is being able to have that break and come out to the sunshine and dance with friends to beautiful music it’s the best reset ever and I think um you know if you’ve got young people who are struggling getting into music play music dance with them you know we that’s what we need to be doing uh you know I I think I never really thought about you know with foster care as saying you know we we should have put on more discos we really should have done that for them and for them you know to for them to have that release too um Becky if you’re still listening that’s what you should be doing with the families she never stops she never stops Angela says you are simply amazing in the Courage the positivity and the difference you’ve made and continue to make to people who come into contact with you is incredible thank you for just being you we love you there you go and on that note if that doesn’t draw a tear then we failed ladies and gentlemen we’ve failed uh Debs and Jeff are watching as well they’re saying thank you it was really interesting you most certainly are an amazing human and I’m sure as I start to wrap up there will be more comments flooding in Lynn thank you for giving me your time this evening uh I will say I will say a few words goodbye and I’ll and I’m proud to have been able to capture your story so thank you for giving me your time tonight thank you and thank you to the support that you gave me and the uh the family fund gave me as well when uh when I was having my treatment and I needed somewhere to stay in London it made all the difference it made it made such a difference I mean really really grateful I’m glad to support the family fund and and I would just say to everyone out there you just never know when you know life changes like that and you never know when you might need something so I did actually just put some words in there the vocal booth newsletter um Family 237 fund uh we we put some money Lynn reached out um and wasn’t afraid to say that she needed some help and we put it to the people and we were happy to be able to give you that uh to take you know one less piece of stress at a very stressful time for you so you know that that’s that’s the power of community and that’s what we try to do and that’s what I try to do with these streams so you’re more than welcome I’m I’m happy so happy that the money went to good use thank you okay excellent I will say goodbye and I’m going to say a few more words to the people actually thank you my love take care yay yes oh wow uh that was very very wonderful wasn’t it the beautiful Melinda uh who knew she was a Melinda uh let me scroll through some of these messages feel free to leave any comments guys if you want me to read them out uh I’m about 40 seconds behind uh so there’s loves and Applause coming in uh Phil says my dad said that years ago for gingerbread one parent families I’m sorry Phil I can’t work that out my dad that years ago for gingerbread one parent families that is now a massive charity okay I think I can work that out somewhere in my mind lots of Hearts coming in as well uh after that wonderful conversation um I feel uh that I don’t want to draw reference to uh my flashy lights and my brand new camera because it seems rather irrelevant um so I’ll do that another time uh on the screen here you can see uh next week the topic of conversation is gonna be avoiding procrastination uh after me just saying I’ll talk about my camera another time why putting things off is holding you back and that’s going to be with Sophia Bailey Larson now Sophia is a woman I’ve met relatively recently not many of the vocal booth family not many of the people who watch My Stream will be familiar with Sophia um or yeah Sophia I met her on a boat party a couple of months ago when I was DJing with Mikey uh we got talking uh we’re now friends on Facebook and I’m looking forward to finding out a little bit more about her um joannie’s saying you’re wonderful Lynn we love you um oh sorry Phil so Phil was saying my dad has done discos Associated to gingerbread sorry he had a tear in his eye uh Phil and Kelly also soldiers in their own right we love you guys uh we can see here lots of video likes lots of video shares on the screen thank you very much and to the bottom right hand corner I’ll say thank you to all of the access members your work uh your contribution is invaluable it’s helped me get this flashy camera this helps a few other things as well I’m going to be talking about in a couple of weeks I got one really exciting piece of news that I want to share with you but it’s not quite ready yet so hold tight for that you’ll see all of these logos on the screen of DJs or uh businesses or self-employed people when the scream ends stick around you’ll see your name come up on a roll call uh thank you all so much as I did say there was a lot more that I wanted to say but it all pales into insignificance really after having that really heartwarming conversation with Lynn so I would just say thank you very much for your attention as always if you’re watching the recording please leave a message for Lynn she would love to hear your thoughts thank you everybody much appreciated I’ll see you soon foreign [Music]


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DJ Kit:

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