At Homeless Link, we support organisations to implement and embed trauma-informed approaches to better support individuals experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness. Improving awareness of trauma and its impact can help services to provide effective support and avoid re-traumatisation of both clients and staff. Recently we worked with Trident Reach to embed a trauma-informed approach in their service.
Trident Reach is a registered charity that provides care and support services to over 5,000 people in the Midlands. Their goal is to maximize positivity, independence, and participation for their clients and communities. To achieve this, the organisation recognised the importance of adopting a trauma-informed approach to create a culture of empathy and support throughout the organisation.
At Homeless Link, we have been working with organisations since 2015 to train and support services to implement a trauma-informed approach. As a current Homeless Link member, Trident Reach learned about the tailored trauma-informed training and support packages we offer through conversations with staff at Homeless Link. These packages have been developed to support homelessness services to embed a trauma-informed approach by upskilling staff, embedding good practice, and reassessing organisational policies and procedures.
To address their objective, Trident Reach collaborated with our team to create a tailored training and support package that suited their specific needs.
The programme encompassed comprehensive trauma training for all staff including Trauma-informed: Theory and Principles, Trauma-informed: In Practice, Trauma-informed for Managers, Stress, Vicarious Trauma, and Managing Wellbeing, and Reflective Practice and Resilience.
Additionally, we delivered tailored presentations for their Safeguarding Committee and Board which covered an overview of trauma-informed care, vicarious trauma, and delved into specific themes relevant to Trident Reach based on the feedback from the staff training we delivered.
We also delivered a service user engagement workshop. This involved a broad range of clients exploring how effective the service is at providing the six principles of trauma-informed care. Key points from the session were then fed back to management to ensure they could make informed decisions about improving services in line with the clients' actual needs.
The results of the trauma-informed training and support package were remarkable.
Over 90% of Trident Reach's care and support staff underwent the training, while over 70% of the housing management and internal teams also received the training. Feedback from both groups of staff was overwhelmingly positive with 94% saying they would recommend training to a colleague.
Me and my colleagues are walking away from today’s training with a lot of positive pointers to use in our day-to-day working with service users
I don't work with service users directly, but I will definitely use this information moving forward at work and personally.
This led to a significant shift in the organisation's culture regarding support. David Watson, Head of Support at Trident Reach, explained:
What the training did was bring the whole organisation to the same place in regards to understanding of trauma and its effects on our customer base. All officers within the organisation have improved skills and better empathy and understanding for our customers and therefore we are able to offer a much-improved service.
The impact of the package extended to various departments, such as the income management team, who now better understand the effects on clients if they are falling into rental debt. This enables them to work more effectively with the support teams to manage clients' accounts and ultimately prevent evictions.
Moreover, the change of culture had a positive effect on staff wellbeing. By gaining a deeper understanding of trauma and its effects on themselves, staff were more resilient to working with people who have experienced trauma. With a greater understanding that the impact trauma can have on staff, the organisation also improved its wellbeing initiatives available for staff, incorporating reflective practice sessions and seeking external psychological input to support both staff and service users when needed.