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Sharing the learning from our Safe Steps pilot

Partners who were involved in establishing our Safe Steps children’s homes for girls at risk of exploitation attended an evaluation event hosted by St Christopher’s to reflect on the experiences of running the Innovation Programme project.

One of the key aims behind the Innovation Programme was for funding recipients to reflect on their experiences of setting up a new service and share their learning with the wider social work community. St Christopher’s has been doing this by attending events in the UK and Europe to talk about what we have learnt from developing Safe Steps, but this event provided an opportunity for everyone who had ever been involved in the pilot to come together and think about the challenges, successes and future plans.

Attendees included representatives from the Department for Education, Spring Consortium, Women and Girls Network, West London Alliance, North London Children’s Efficiency Partnership and St Christopher’s staff.

Dr Jennie Williams, the project evaluator from the University of Bedfordshire and NatCen Social Research, started the day. She talked through the evaluation report published by the DfE and shared conversations she had with young people about their experiences at Pelham House, West London, and Allen House, North London.

Next, London Regional Managers Pam Robinson and Angela Harris spoke about the challenges of setting up Safe Steps and how we adapted to solve any problems. They explained how the culture of St Christopher’s as a learning organisation meant that we could test new theories and methods for working with the girls.

Safe Steps Managers Parveen Banga and Amaka Williams then shared details on how practice has developed in the homes since they were opened in September 2015. They discussed partnering up with other expert organisations to deliver training for the staff teams and how they supported their teams to be confident in making difficult decisions about keeping the girls safe.

Attendees praised St Christopher’s for the innovation behind Safe Steps remarking that it had been a brave and challenging project, undertaken under a significant spotlight.