Margaret Tanner, PPL for Children, Young People and Families
Working together so that children, young people and families are well supported is Margaret’s aim, having taken on the new role of PPL at the beginning of autumn 2019.
“Getting it right for children and young people affects them for the rest of their lives,” she said. “There are so many expectations on them today and the danger is that adults don’t always understand how they feel.”
She sees her role as being able to work with everyone concerned, including staff, to ensure their voices make a real difference to services, their planning and review. This could mean through small local projects in communities or larger scale children’s services.
“It’s about having conversations. I am still finding my way round and starting to get involved with families. It’s a new role for me and the Trust, so it’s very much a case of seeing what works and building on that,” said Margaret.
She said it was exciting to be working with the other PPLs on a common strategy, each with their unique take on the role. “I see it as constantly changing, adapting as we go along based on the needs of the people we are talking to,” said Margaret.
Margaret’s career began as a learning disabilities nurse in the 1980s. She taught nursing for many years and has also worked in schools, children’s services and social care but has also seen things as a carer and as someone who has personal experience of mental health issues.
“My background is a huge help to me in this role as it gives me an insight into what children are experiencing and the expectations on them,” she said. “I see problems such as how the education system sometimes tries to make youngsters fit into something which isn’t right for them and the effect that can have on families.”
She believes talking is the way forward, whether that is about specific problems or mental health issues in general, in communities, families and schools. “It’s all about taking away the stigma and not sweeping mental health issues under the carpet,” she said. “We can then combat any lack of understanding and promote the huge benefits of looking after yourself mentally and physically, personal wellbeing. But talking is only a part of the PPL role – these conversations have to turn into actions so they can be meaningful within the Trust.”
But she said it was far from a one-size-fits-all solution. “Every child and young person is an individual. Children’s lives are complex and they are constantly bombarded with more and more information and expectations of how they should look, feel and more. I am passionate about care and making sure we get it right.”