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What it takes to be nominated for the Advancing Healthcare Awards – Little Voices domestic abuse group work programme for children

Now is the time to submit your entries for the Advancing Healthcare Awards (AHA’s) 2019. As previous winners, Chroma now sponsors an award for ‘realising potential through creativity’.

One of last year’s finalists for the Chroma award was Ann Dix, a healthcare registered drama therapist, her project ‘Little Voices Domestic Abuse Group Work Programme for Children’ was found to be truly inspiring.

Dix was a school therapist in Leeds. There she realised many children had experienced domestic violence and chose to write a book titled ‘Little-mouse Finds a Safe Place’ in order to say things she wanted to say to children in an age-appropriate way. This book went on to form the basis of her project.

Little Voices is an 8 week, play-based group work programme, designed for children aged 7-11 who had previously/currently been living in an abusive situation. The content of each session is centred on Little-mouse. Discussions of mouse’s anger, sadness, frustration and other actions are explored. No session is personal to the child to avoid feelings of blame or shame, but discussions about Little-Mouse’s feelings allows children to consider their own feelings and actions in similar circumstances. Ultimately, the children help Little-Mouse to think about ways of managing big emotions.

As with drama therapy, sessions are adapted to the group. If the group is more active, more role-play will take place. If they are a quieter group, activities such as collages or drawing will be the chosen path to explore ideas.

Dix also wanted to ensure Little-Mouse was male in order to help young boys explore their feelings and emotions that they may not normally admit to.

Little-Voices portrayed Dix as a worthy finalist. Her work reflects the need to support children’s mental health and with a gender neutral approach. Delivering sessions in and around schools in Leeds and Bradford and training staff within those schools to continue her work, Dix showed her project was transferable, and could be continued in and around other schools.

“The session had a marked effect on S. In class he is much calmer and more focused and appears happier too. His mum has also said things have improved at home.” Teacher, Leeds

“There was a noticeable change in the behaviour and confidence of all the children in the group.” Deputy Head, Leeds

Unfortunately, schools have little extra funding for such projects which Dix has found as a challenge for sustainability – but that has not deterred her from continuing her work. And today, she remains working towards getting ‘Little Voices’ into more schools in and around the UK.

This project reflects the high standard of work that is recognised at the AHA’s and expect the same in 2019. If you are another outstanding healthcare professional, inspiring change within the healthcare sector, remember to submit your entry to the AHA’s soon.

Enter the: Chroma award for Realising potential through creativity at the Advancing Healthcare Awards here: http://bit.ly/2SdFueW The submission deadline for entries is 17:00 14 January 2019.

See below as Ann Dix, registered drama therapist, talks about her project ‘Little Voices Domestic Abuse Group Work Programme for Children’