Couple conflict relationship champions in all children’s centres

Date published: 15 July 2019

Since the launch of Rochdale Council’s Relationship Manifesto they have been on a mission to train as many frontline practitioners as possible - over 600 so far - so staff have the skills to support couples who are worried about the impact that their arguments might be having on their own and their children’s emotional wellbeing. 

The council started by training all their children’s centre staff so that anyone who uses their centres can now get help and support from any of the 120 trained ‘relationships champions’.

A spokesperson for the council said: “Relationship Champions wear a distinctive badge, so if you see someone wearing one it means they are trained to listen and support you.”

Councillor Kieran Heakin, cabinet member for children’s services said: “We’ve been really bold in our commitment to relationships and this is only the start of our revolution. It’s so important that people know they have somewhere to go to get support around relationships and arguments.”

Some level of arguing is normal and a part of life for most couples and when it’s resolved well it does no harm.  But for some couples their arguments are intense and frequent and don’t get resolved well which is not good for children and the wider family.

Gail Hopper, director of children’s services at Rochdale Council, said: “Ultimately we want people across the borough to get couple conflict support from anyone who is trained and in a position to help, such as; health visitors, social workers and housing officers, so that we all give the same clear message – arguments that are frequent, intense and resolved badly are not good for us or our children. The good news is we can do something about it by getting the right help."

Staff leading on this initiative at the council recently presented their work on the Rochdale Relationships Matter initiative programme to MP’s in Parliament as part of the Family Hubs Network.

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