Relationships in Practice

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LAMA Awards – one year on

As this year’s All Ireland Community & Council Awards (LAMA Awards) ceremony approaches on 15th April, we remember the high of last year when we were awarded the overall ‘Grand Prix’ award and Gold in the ‘Best Community Health Initiative’, sponsored by Healthy Ireland.

The LAMA Awards highlight and celebrate the work done within our communities to reward unsung heroes and recognise the phenomenal contribution they have made.

To be singled out from so many worthy winners was a huge milestone and honour for our Relationships in Practice programme.

Our winning initiative, ‘Relationships matter: building ACE awareness in the community’ involves providing free and facilitated screenings of the critically acclaimed documentary about Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), ‘Resilience: The Biology of Stress & the Science of Hope’ to diverse community-based practitioners throughout Ireland.

The awards led to a significant feature in the Irish Times by journalist, Sheila Wayman. This in turn, stimulated an online conversation and positive feedback about our work. Above all, it supported our mission of highlighting how quality relationships in frontline practice impact positively on health and wellbeing outcomes.

We continue to provide free and facilitated screenings of the documentary – both in-person and online – and we have several dates planned for 2023 so please contact Norma.roche@relationshipsinpractice.ie if you are interested in a place.

We have shared the documentary with 700 frontline practitioners over the last three years. With an emphasis on early intervention, attendees have included early years professionals, teachers, youth & community development workers, family resources workers, healthcare and allied professionals, social care and social work teams, speech and language therapists and many more disciplines.

Evidence shows that ACE awareness is a first step in supporting those who have experienced adversity. By creating a safe, supportive space where practitioners can watch the documentary and discuss its content and impact in a peer setting, our aim is to reach practitioners who are already well-placed in communities to use the knowledge and awareness of the impact of ACES to help their client groups to make sense of their experiences of adversity, and in the longer term, help to break intergenerational cycles of adversity.

We believe that frontline practitioners hold huge potential to make a difference in people’s lives by taking this important information and broadening and deepening their awareness of human experience and adversity – for themselves and others – and use that in the work to take a more compassionate approach, wondering ‘what has happened’ to someone rather than ‘what’s wrong’ with them.  This change in perspective alone has a powerful impact on how a frontline practitioner might feel about themselves, their work colleagues and how they might relate at work. 

We have also undertaken a thematic analysis of feedback from the screenings, structured around five core themes that emerged from group discussions. It presents a range of information, data and knowledge, including 50 evidence-based messages of hope, along with a comprehensive reference, resources and tools in appendices to support professionals to open up new ways of thinking about what we can do to become more aware and compassionate towards children and adults with histories of ACEs and toxic stress.

Frontline practitioners interested in receiving a digital copy of ‘Adverse Childhood Experiences: 50 reasons to support relationships in practice’, please contact: fern.higginsatkinson@relationshipsinpractice.ie

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