Limbus Talks for 2019, dates for your diary
June 8, 2019 Robert Tollemache ‘We have to talk about… Climate Change’
For more details visit<< Limbus
Noel Howard, of Social Care Ireland and the editor of CÚRAM, the Irish care magazine, has sent these comments about John Cross and the book Charles Sharpe has written and compiled about John.
The Irish Journal of Applied Social of Applied Social Studies will be a publishing Noel’s full review of the book in a forthcoming issue.
Congratulations on the publication of A Shared Experience. It is hard to believe that you only met John in 2008 because reading the book I get a feeling that somehow, you knew each other for far longer.
I think this book comes at a good time for those who work caring for children because, to use a phrase I’ve used elsewhere, the essence of caring is not about commodification but about relationships. In Ireland at any rate, social care workers are more than ever subjected to the jargon of supposed certainties which benefit no one, least of all, children with difficulties.
I find, in reading your book, that John was the real antidote to what now can tie social care workers up in knots – on the one hand regularly encouraged to use their professional judgement and yet when they do, even with positive results, can find themselves facing a bureaucratic nightmare. There was a time, and this is perhaps another example of my dinosaur status, when one could write in a log book, “Tom had a very good morning”, safe in the knowledge that those you worked with and worked for knew what was meant. Now, on good authority, I believe you must detail how and why Tom had a very good morning. The very core of the ebb and flow of life in residential care is now subject to the latest buzz words, one of which at the moment here is “journey”. Everyone, from the cat to the King has to be on a journey of some sort. But enough of my meanderings and back to the book.
The saddest part for me has to be the boy saying to John on his being withdrawn from New Barns by his local authority, “John, you said I could always live here.”
The most infuriating part was of course the story of the trial which kept bringing Arthur Miller’s line in The Crucible to mind…”You are pulling down heaven and raising up a whore.” Most striking of course is your description of John’s lack of bitterness and resentment and in that I think he was a better man than most. I know, in fact, I’m certain, I would be very far behind him in that attitude. Also, it was lovely to read of Jim Nichol being so impressed by what Eve Foster and Maureen Ward had to say. It struck me that they perhaps were the best inspection service a unit might hope for, somewhat removed but imbibing all that was good around them.
The anecdotes from those who worked with John were, as with most anecdotes about people in this kind of work, quirky and revealing. Of course his innate modesty and true sense of justice were what most come through in the book as well as a thorough delving into what constitutes the therapeutic task.
Interesting you mention that John had no great reliance on theoretical matters and yet there is a very evident theoretical base in his conversations with you and the extracts from his writings. Also, you get across the idea that he was always about with his cup of tea and that can’t be said of many managers now pressurised by all kinds of bureaucratic demands.
Applicable I think to John also and to many who worked with him are those lines from Wordsworth:
That best portion of a good man’s life
His little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love.
I hope, Charles, that the book gets the readership it richly deserves and well done in bringing John’s life and times to us.
This letter has also been published as a permanent article in the goodenoughcaring Journal.
A Shared Experience John Cross, his life, thoughts and writing by Charles Sharpe, published by Abbeyhill Press Totnes in 2018. Price £7.995
To request a copy of this book email firstname.lastname@example.org
All the proceeds of the sale of this book go to sustaining the John Cross Archive currently maintained by PETT at the Barns Centre, Toddington, Glos.
Farhad Dalal informs us that the next Limbus lecture will be on Saturday, June 9th from 10.30am to 1pm at Studio 3, Dartington Hall.
The Lecture, A Fair Chance in Life: Helping Children Flourish will be given by Sue Gerhardt, the author of the deservedly praised, ( in my view, [ed] ), and influential book Why Love Matters : how affection shapes a baby’s brain published in 2004 by Brunner – Routledge.
Noel Howard has written to remind us that the Social Care Ireland Annual Conference for 2018 Working with Strengths and Abilities takes place at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Athlone on March 21st and 22nd.
An Early Bird offer and a range of booking options are available at www.socialcareireland.ie
John Cross, for over 60 years an influential figure in the field of planned environment therapy in therapeutic communities for children has died aged 85 at his home in Cheltenham. He retired from his role as Director of the Planned Environment Therapy Trust in 2012. Until the onset of his illness in the autumn of 2015, John continued to be involved in the daily life of PETT at Toddington in Gloucestershire.
In 1952, his early ambition to take up a place at Durham University and to become a politician faded on the completion of his National Service when the direction of his life was altered by a summer placement at Bodenham Manor School where David Wills was the Warden. John decided that what was going on at the school felt right and that shared experience in a therapeutic community would provide the pathway for his life. In the following decades John was engaged in the community life of Bodenham Manor School, Herefordshire, Ashley House Remand Home, Worksop, New Heys Reception Centre, Liverpool and New Barns School, Toddington.
At the same time as he was engaged as a member of the group of children and adults at New Barns John became a psychotherapist, served as a magistrate in the Juvenile Justice System, was the Chairman of the Youth and Family Courts and Vice Chairman of the Gloucestershire Probation Committee.
John maintained his relationships with those who had been with him and his colleagues at New Barns. Over the years he became a ‘best man’ at their weddings and a godparent at the christening of their children many times over.
John played an influential role in a number of other organisations. He was a founding member of the Association of Workers with Maladjusted Children (AWMC) which later became the Social, Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties Association (SEBDA) and for over 40 years served on its Council. Prior to his death was John was the only living founding member of PETT. He was a founding member of other groups too including the Charterhouse Group, Young Minds and the Child Care History Network.
Over his career John wrote and presented a number of influential papers about therapeutic communities and planned environment therapy and he co-authored the controversial 1979 Quaker publication Six Quakers Look at Crime and Punishment: A Study Paper.
John was a Quaker. He was a man modest about his achievements. For him achievement was the shared experience of a community. John is survived by his two sisters Sybil and Cynthia. He will be sorely missed and fondly remembered by so many of the people with whom he shared experience and a community life.
Here is the text of an interview with John from 2010 and this is the article he wrote for the goodenoughcaring Journal in 2012, Some tentative thoughts on the concept of planned environment therapy is at http://www.goodenoughcaring.com/the-journal/some-tentative-thoughts-on-the-concept-of-planned-environment-therapy/
Issue 19 of the goodenoughcaring Journal goes online on Wednesday, 15th June, 2016. In this issue Cynthia Cross writes about children and families attending reviews, Maurice Fenton reflects upon Yeats, Jung and Adolescence, John Stein considers the nature of feedback, Noel Howard gives an account of the history of the Irish social care journal Curam which published its 50th issue earlier this year and gives a context to developments in social care in recent decades, Michael J. Marlowe explores the connection between good relationships and trust, Justin Frost reviews the film The War Zone, Lesley Morrison writes about residential child care, Charles Sharpe looks at Ian D. Suttie’s ‘attachment to mother’ theory and George Eliot writes about family life in the 1820s.
Following our recent announcement that issue 19 of the goodenoughcaring Journal will contain articles by Justin Frost, Noel Howard, John Stein, Michael Marlowe we are pleased to add Cynthia Cross and Maurice Fenton to the our list of authors for this issue which goes online on June 15th, 2016. Further details will appear on this page soon.
The final teenage issue (no.19) of the goodenoughcaring Journal will be online on June 15th, 2016. There will be articles by John Fallowfield, Justin Frost, Ni Holmes, Noel Howard, John Stein, Michael Marlowe. More details will be announced in the next few weeks as will news of further articles.
Maurice Fenton sends this Call for Papers for Unity through Relationship’s annual conference in Dublin. Unity through Relationship is a partnership between Empower Ireland, Gateway Organisation, CYC-Net and Transform Action International.
The Ecology & Impact of Trauma: Relational Responses to Disrupted Development
7th – 9th November 2016
Regency Airport Hotel (Whitehall), Dublin, Ireland
At this time we are sending out a Call for Papers for the 3rd annual ‘Unity through Relationship’ International Conference, an inclusive learning & development event which builds and strengthens connections, relationships and interdisciplinary working. All who are involved in the provision of care and services to children, youth and families are welcomed, including but not limited to: front-line practitioners (social work, social care, teachers, family support staff), clinicians, educators, justice professionals, mental health staff, researchers, managers, carers and students.
Conference theme: The impact of trauma on mental health and relational responses.
We all begin our physical, mental and social development from the moment of conception, a process, which, even at that early stage, is influenced by genetic and inter-generational factors. As we travel along our life course we encounter many factors within our ‘ecology’ and these can impact on our development. Positive and nurturing factors augment healthy development and resilience. However, the converse is also true, negative experiences can stunt or arrest development. We refer to such deeply distressing experiences as ‘trauma’. It is here that the conference has its foundation.
In 2016, the Unity conference is seeking to draw from the expert knowledge of colleagues who have particular interest in the understanding of how ‘’disruption within ones ecology’’ can impact on growth and development. This includes pre-birth disruption (such as contributes to syndromes such as FASD), abuse/neglect and any other type of event which can contribute that what is seen to be a ‘mental health issue’. A focus should also be on how we can optimally respond to such trauma using relational approaches.
The objectives of this 3-day conference are (within a relational framework):
i) to provide a forum to present thinking and share the views and practice experiences;
ii) to aid carers and professionals to understanding how early and inter-generational trauma can impact on the mental health needs of young people;
iii) to share progressive and contemporary knowledge, with a focus on a relational response.
At this time we are sending out a Call for Papers seeking applications to contribute to the conference. If you have an idea you would like to propose or want some help with the application process, we will be happy to provide support. This conference will be innovative, programmatic, participative, comparative, critical and empowering.
We are also seeking expressions of interest from prospective presenters who may have associated 1 or 2 days trainings which they would be willing to deliver on the Thursday 10th and Friday 11th as part of a suite of trainings related to the conference theme being made available as we have done in each of the previous events. This has proven to be an excellent opportunity to make available innovative trainings that may otherwise not be accessible and thereby positively influence practice. It is also an opportunity for professionals to make available trainings that they may be in the process of developing.
Submissions can be made at http://unitythroughrelationship.com/call-for-papers/ or alternatively forms can be downloaded from the website or are available from and must be completed and returned to: email@example.com prior to 16th May 2016
Bookings via Eventbrite @ http://www.unitythroughrelationship.eventbrite.ie/
Care Leavers Ireland/EPIC are holding their 2nd Annual Care Leavers Conference Care Leavers – Care for your Health on October 8th. at Farmleigh House, Phoenix Park, Dublin.
For booking details go here
The conference is sponsored by Orchard Children’s Services.