Last week I attended a conference in London, in fact it was a two day training that would gain a certificate upon completion for a life changing programme.

I better start right at the beginning with how I learn about this training. In fact, I originally went on the programme as a client. The programme is called ‘The Recovery Toolkit’ and it is for those who have experienced domestic abuse and you have to fit the requirements to be able to access it. You may have heard in my interviews that the idea of Isolation Junction came when I was on a course with other women that had been abused, this is in fact that course. I couldn’t believe that I was getting educated after an abusive relationship about what an unhealthy relationship looks like and so my initial aim was to educate in an entertaining way and bring awareness to abuse, specifically emotional abuse and coercive control. This course has changed my life and I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for this course. I have a lot to be thankful for and Hull DAP did the programme proud.

After Isolation Junction was published I planned to write a second novel which is still my work in progress, I wanted to use some of the programme material and this is when I went in search of the person who created ‘The Recovery Toolkit’. I had no luck on Amazon or Facebook and so I had got in touch with the facilitators of the program at Hull DAP who gave me the name of the wonderful educated lady who designed it, Sue Penna. I again had no luck on Amazon or Facebook and decided to try Twitter one day, she popped up. The conversation started with a tweet from me, I had to get in touch with her and tell her what a difference her programme had made in my life and also to see if I could gain access to the resource personally. After a couple of weeks we had a phone conversation and I explained about my book, my thoughts for the future, the course as well as thanking her for her time and the programme. Sue was fruitful with information and directed me to a couple of resources as well as informing me that I could become a facilitator of the course by going on the specific training of hers. I was delighted to learn about this and that I could meet Sue herself.

Months later and I am on my way to London to attend this valuable training. I didn’t know what to expect other than what I had done personally on the programme as a client. I couldn’t believe how engaging the training was and I was excited to be a part of it. Surrounding me were volunteers and workers at different levels in the sector and each shared the same excitement to become a facilitator of the programme.

I encourage any workers and volunteers to seek out this training because it is presented in a way that educates and nurtures the attendee’s, making sure that the clients are ready to be informed on certain subject matters within the sessions. I should mention at this point that this is a 12 week course to go on as a client.

It became apparent that my result is in fact of the aim of the programme and I wasn’t aware of this at all. 

The discussions we had over the two days were very interesting and grabbing and one thing shone out from the whole experience and that was that everyone was passionate about their work. I had the opportunity to make some connections and we all shared conversations outside of the conference as well, even after a glass of wine or two. A lot of people remarked at how the training didn’t feel like work but it was also enjoyable and the way it was taught was easy to digest as well as participating in exercises.

A lot of notes taken down, a lot more research to be done and connections to follow up with. One of the exercises toward the end of the training was one I had done on the programme, we were all given an envelope that was required to have our name written on it. Our envelopes were then passed to the right and each person in the group wrote a positive about that person on a post it note and placed it in their envelope. It was passed around until the envelopes came back to your own and then it was required to write a positive about yourself.

I read mine on the way home from London and I thought I would share some with you here;

“You are my new hero, thank you for being you. I have learnt so much from you. Also fun loving, open, love, kind, I look forward to reading your book”

“WOW- I am full of admiration- thanks for your wise words + contributions I learned a lot”

“Jennifer I really admire you. You are, strong, capable, kind and warm. x”

“Very inspiring”


These came at the right time for me as well. I really needed to hear some positives and so you can imagine just how thrilled I was, as well as a little emotional.

Of course the highlight for me was to meet and chat with Sue Penna and I am sure we will be talking in the future. Another exercise was that we told the rest of the group what we enjoyed most about the two days. It came to me and I had managed my emotions well up until this point. I simply had to say from my heart a huge thank you to Sue, that it was an honour and that her programme did change my life and I went on… I was ok until I saw that Sue was also getting teary and then the tears flowed. It was a positive thing and tears of happiness because I never expected to even get this far in my journey. I have to mention that it was also Sue’s last time in delivering the course personally as she now has the lovely Roxie to train the programme. I will never forget the time Sue has put aside to have important discussions with me.

Here I am holding my certificate with pride. If you want to find out more about the programme or other work Sue Penna has created you can head to her website www.rockpool.life 

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