Warwickshire social enterprise goes global

Smiles all round for participants of Cohort 4’s DASH training.

By Ben Egginton

A social enterprise in North Warwickshire has spread its wings to provide vital training to employees of the Maltese government.

Cohort 4, based in Atherstone, was established in 2014 to provide peer mentoring for vulnerable women within the county, but has seen its role expand above and beyond that.

Founding Director Beverley Gilbert and Co-Director Rachel Wilde went to Malta last month to deliver Domestic Abuse, Stalking and Honour-Based Violence (DASH) Risk Checklist training to 75 professionals.

Beverley said: ‘It was incredible.

‘The knowledge that Rachel and I brought was something they really valued.

‘I hope the training we’ve taken out there makes individuals and communities safer, and that it allows professionals to work more meaningfully together to share the same language of risk.’

People who work within the police, social services and the Maltese government’s Commission on Domestic Violence were among the participants.

One said: ‘I enjoyed all of it.

‘A well full of knowledge, this training was delivered in a way that kept our attention.’

Another participant added: ‘Listening to you speak was the aspect I enjoyed the most. It gives me motivation to continue working.’

The programme is aimed at helping front line practitioners to identify high risk cases of domestic abuse, stalking and honour-based violence, and to increase information sharing between agencies.

Cohort 4 Co-Director, Rachel Wilde, delivering DASH training.

Beverley has been delivering multiagency training to approximately 700 professionals in Malta for the past three years with the University of Worcester, but this is the first time she has delivered training on behalf of Cohort 4.

However, political instability in the UK poses a serious threat to the organisation’s prospects of expanding its work on the island.

‘It [BREXIT] will have an enormous impact, because nearly all the interventions and processes in Malta are EU funded,’ Beverley said.

‘In the future I don’t think they’ll be picking partners such as ourselves in the UK; they’ll be keeping it within the European Union.’

Fortunately Cohort 4 has established a strong relationship with a sister organisation in Malta – SOAR – which they hope will not only endure, but grow in the coming years.

Like Cohort 4, SOAR is a peer mentoring organisation which supports female survivors of domestic violence.

Cohort 4’s Founding Director Beverley Gilbert (left) and Co-Director Rachel Wilde (right) in Malta.

Looking to the future, Beverley hopes to co-chair a talk with SOAR about peer mentoring women who are survivors of abuse at the Domestic Violence European Conference in Oslo in September.

For further information about training provided by Cohort 4, visit their website http://www.cohort4.org.uk/peer-mentor-training/ or contact them at enquiries@www.cohort4.org.uk