People who have gone over and above to keep children and young people in North Yorkshire safe from danger, abuse or hardship have been recognised in an award ceremony.
The North Yorkshire Safeguarding Children Partnership (NYSCP) awards celebrate the tireless work of safeguarding professionals, campaigners, charities and medical practitioners in supporting children in the county.
The winners included a mother who used her own painful experience of losing her 17-year-old son to suicide to shape policies on suicide prevention and improve the social, emotional and mental health of young people in the county and on a national level.
The awards take place twice a year, with the most recent ceremony held at The Hawkhills Hotel near Easingwold. They aim to celebrate the achievements of people who have helped improve the health, achievement, or safety of children and young people in the county, or whose work has helped improve their wellbeing and happiness.
The most recent winners were:
- Pat Sowa, a parent whose has helped shape suicide prevention policy in North Yorkshire and who works to raise awareness of improving social, emotional and mental health in young people nationally. She began her work after losing her 17-year-old son, Dom, who died by suicide in October 2017. She was nominated by colleagues on the NYSCP, who stated: “The NYSCP has been privileged to work alongside Pat who has shared her lived experience to help others. “Pat has been fundamental – along with other parents with experience – in the redesign of the NYSCP Self Harm and Suicide Prevention Pathway and sat on our local Suicide Prevention Task Group.” Pat has also established her own company, Star Fish, dedicated to improving the social, emotional and mental health agenda in North Yorkshire and nationally. She has also co-authored a book, Take My Hand; How to be Hopeful in a Time of Grief, to help other people navigate grief.
- Dr Jonathan Grimbley, one of the doctors whose role includes child protection for South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which includes the Friarage Hospital in Northallerton and the James Cook University Hospital. Dr Grimbley was nominated for having “always been a strong advocate for children” but going over and above to put safeguarding procedures in place for children at risk of harm. His colleagues, who nominated the doctor, stated: “It is our view that Dr Grimbley exemplifies the very best characteristics of a named doctor and that his absolute commitment to child welfare should appropriately be recognised by the partnership.”
- Dr Joy Shacklock, the GP for North Yorkshire GP partners and practices with a role involving child and adult safeguarding. Dr Shacklock, who is also safeguarding representative for the Royal College of General Practitioners, was nominated for her extensive work in safeguarding, including training for GPs, nurses, pharmacists and others working in primary care across North Yorkshire. Her nomination stated: “Joy is always an excellent advocate and ambassador for safeguarding and has supported the numerous primary care professionals across North Yorkshire in some very challenging cases.”
- North Yorkshire Together, a partnership of three voluntary sector organisations; Rural Arts, North Yorkshire Youth and North Yorkshire Sport. At the start of the pandemic, the partnership pooled resources to support young people and keep them happy and healthy at home. Over nine months, more than 30,000 activity packs were distributed across North Yorkshire, including packs specifically designed for children and young people who had been identified as in need by North Yorkshire County Council and other partners. They also ran digital workshops for about 1,900 people during lockdown. The partnership has continued to develop, working closely with the county council to support the most vulnerable young people across the county through physical activity and creativity.
The chair of NYSCP, Dr Maggie Atkinson, said: “Every day, people are engaged in challenging and difficult work in keeping children and young people safe. It often requires huge amounts of resilience, tenacity and professionalism.
“These awards are to celebrate that contribution, which is vital if our children and young people are to lead safe and happy lives.”
The awards were devised by partnership manager James Parkes, who wanted to highlight the positive work of professionals, volunteers and members of the community in support children to thrive in North Yorkshire. He said: “These awards offer the opportunity to showcase the amazing work that is happening within our communities.
“We are always looking for nominations throughout the year, so if you know someone who deserves recognition, please nominate them.”
To nominate someone who is going over and above to help children lead happy, healthy and safe lives, visit www.safeguardingchildren.co.uk/professionals/partnership-award/
Photo shows: Left to right, award winners Dr Joy Shacklock, David Sharp, Pat Sowa and David Watson.