We're working with partners on reducing family conflict and supporting families earlier so conflict doesn't lead to lasting damage for children, young people and parents.
Relationship manifesto for Rochdale borough
We've created a relationship manifesto to raise awareness of the positive and negative impact relationships can have on us. It details how we'll try to ensure healthy relationships for everyone who lives, works, studies and volunteers in Rochdale borough.
Our relationship manifesto outlines how we plan to make a difference with family conflict which includes:
- Developing a clear strategy for reducing family conflict
- Establishing a lead group to monitor our progress
- Promoting a joined-up, coordinated response
- Naming relationship champions to promote relationship change and developments
- Creating a training package for groups working with families
How to get help to reduce family conflict
There's a relationship champion at each Sure Start Children's Centre in the borough. These champions can offer families support and guidance or signposting to further services. Relationship champions wear a distinctive badge. Anyone wearing this badge is trained to listen and support you.
In 2019, we're training hundreds of our staff, partners and volunteers to become relationship champions. Our relationship champions will complete a dedicated training programme called 'how to argue better'.
This will mean there are hundreds of people working across the community who are able to help couples and families reduce conflict in their relationships.
Update on our work reducing family conflict – July 2019
We've trained over 600 frontline staff so far to give them the skills to support couples and families.
We started by training all our children's centre staff. Anyone who uses these centres can now get support from any of the 120 trained relationship champions who work there. We're also working really closely with schools, who are ideally placed to work with parents and children on relationships.
In July 2019, ITV News showcased some of the work we've been doing on reducing family conflict. The video and article by ITV News show our work is having a real and positive impact on the lives of families.
Why we want to reduce family conflict
We're dedicated to reducing family conflict for a number of reasons, including:
- Evidence shows reducing conflict between parents is one of the most effective ways to reduce mental health problems in children.
- Family conflict costs the public sector around £46 billion a year through related services.
- Exposure to frequent conflict between parents is associated with a range of problems for children and young people. This can include poorer academic outcomes, negative peer relationships, substance misuse and poor future relationships. View evidence resource about family disadvantage and its impact on children
Student Relationship Champions
In June 2020, we launched a new programme called Student Relationship Champions. Our youth service leads the programme and young people have passionately coproduced the work.
This programme allows secondary school and college students in Year 11 and above to become peer-to-peer student relationship champions. These champions are trained to support other young people with healthy relationship advice.
Janet and Adam from our youth cabinet explain why they feel this role is crucial for young people:
- Janet's views on Student Relationship Champions on YouTube (00:01:53)
- Adam's views on Student Relationship Champions on YouTube (00:01:41)
Delivering the programme in schools and colleges
The Youth Service offer training to schools and colleges that want to deliver the Student Relationship Champions programme. Please contact them for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We've also made a resource pack and toolkit for schools and colleges.
Who we're working with to reduce family conflict
We're working with a number of different organisations to reduce family conflict. The expertise and research from these organisations have helped us create our relationship manifesto.
- The Early Intervention Foundation – reducing family conflict.
- Mind – managing your mental health in a relationship.
- Tavistock Relationships – policies on relationships and mental health.
- Centre for Public Impact – interview about the work we're doing.
- Family Lives – teen violence at home.
- University of Brighton – responding to child-to-parent violence.
Family Stability Conference - October 2019
On Wednesday, 2 October 2019, we hosted delegates from across the country who came together to share best practice locally and nationally on family relationships and stability.
We shared the progress we're making through the innovative revolution that's taking place here in Rochdale borough. We also discussed developments in Greater Manchester which provide early support to families to create healthy, strong family relationships and reduce family conflict.
Speakers at the conference:
- Patrick Myers from the Department of Work and Pensions
- Gail Hopper, our director of children's services
- Dr Samantha Callan, parliamentary advisor
- Lord Farmer, Conservative peer
- Avril McIntyre MBE, director at Community Resources
- Frank Young from the Centre for Social Justice
Topics discussed at the conference:
- The importance of strengthening family relationships and why this matters
- Identifying and engaging families at the earliest possible opportunity
- Strengthening support for families in schools - beyond the curriculum
- Building community capacity to support families and how communities can be supported