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Student Affairs, University of Limerick

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When someone you care about is struggling, it can be really difficult and you may experience a mix of emotions: concern, disbelief, anger, anxiety, compassion… this is normal and understandable.

Providing support to someone else can be draining, leaving you feeling exhausted. It is important to notice the impact of this on your own mental health and wellbeing. Before you can support them, you need to make sure you are supported and looking after yourself.

 

Some ways to mind yourself

Know your limits

            Be realistic about what support you can offer and try not to take on too much.

Get support

Talk to someone you trust or link in with the student counselling service.

Take a break

      Make time to do something nice for yourself.

 

Ways to support your friend

Listen

      Listen more than you talk. Ask open ended questions, “how are you feeling?” to encourage them to talk.

Be there as someone they can trust

      Let them know you care, spend time with them, chat over a cup of tea- avoid drugs and alcohol

Don’t assume you know what’s best for them

      Everyone experiences life differently. Don’t try to “fix things”. Instead, ask your friend how they would like to be supported.

Normalise mental health

      Talk about it. It’s ok not to be ok. Make sure your friend hears that.

Encourage them to get support

      Make it ok to need help, offer to go with them to whatever support service they decide on.

 

Let them know you care

 

What to do if they don’t want help?

While it can be frustrating when someone you care about doesn’t want help, there are limits to what you can do. Try to be patient with them, be there, ready to help, but do not push them.

 

Time to get extra help

If you have talked to your friend and are still worried, it may be time to contact a family member and tell them your concerns. Attend UL Éist during drop-in hours (Room CM073, 10am & 2pm) and express concern for your friend. Try and encourage your friend to come.

 

Check out our e-resources and helpline information leaflet for some more support services in the Limerick area.

 

In an emergency call the Emergency Services on 112 or 999.

Apps

Smart phone apps can be a really useful way to practice breathing and meditation exercises to help with stress and anxiety.

  • Breathe2Relax
  • Calm
  • Headspace
  • Stop, Breathe & Think
  • The Mindfulness App
  • Virtual Hope Box

 

Online Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

CBT can be a useful way to challenge how we think and act to help with anxiety and low mood. Online programmes offers the opportunity to learn CBT skills.

  1. Aware Life Skills Online: www.aware.ie/education/life-skills-online-programme/
  2. CBT Online: www.online-therapy.com/cbt
  3. Mood Gym: https://moodgym.com.au/

Self-Help Resources

Self-help materials can give us coping skills to help us through times of distress.

  1. Information and exercise sheets:
  1. Specific self-help intervention packages:

Websites

Futureme.org

Write a letter to your future self.

Mind.org.uk

Mental health support and information.

Pleasetalk.ie

Ireland’s student-led mental health movement.

Reachout.com

Information on issues that can affect your mental health and well-being.

Spunout.ie

Ireland’s youth information website created by young people, for young people.

 

Crisis Helpline Numbers

Emergency services (Gardaí, Ambulance, Fire Service)               

999 or 112

Shannon Doc

1850 212 999

Crisis Intervention Service

 

Limerick

Clare

North Tipperary

 

061 30 11 11

065 686 32 08

086 830 6663

ADAPT Domestic Abuse Services

(24/7) Email: info@adaptservices.ie

Website: www.adaptservices.ie/

1800 200 504

Al-Anon, strength and hope for families and friends of problem drinkers

(10am – 10pm daily) Email: info@alanon.ie

Website: www.alanon.ie

01 87 32 6999

Alcoholics Anonymous Ireland

Email: gso@alcoholicsanonymous.ie

Website: www.alcoholicsanonymous.ie/

01-8420700

AMEN, support and practical assistance to male victims of domestic abuse

(9am-5pm, Mon-Fri) Email: crisissupport@amen.ie

Website: www.amen.ie

046-9023718

AWARE, a national support helpline for issues relating to mood disorders

(10am to 10pm daily)

Website: www.aware.ie

1800 80 48 48

Bodywhys, The Eating Disorders Association of Ireland

(2hrs daily) Email: alex@bodywhys.ie

Website: www.bodywhys.ie/

1890 20 04 44

GOSHH (Gender, Orientation, Sexual Health, HIV)

(Mon 2.15pm–5pm, Tues-Fri 9.30am– 5pm) Email: info@goshh.ie

Website: goshh.ie/

061-316661

GROW, Community Mental Health

Email: midwesternregion@grow.ie

Website: www.grow.ie/

1890 474 474

Pieta House, for suicidality and self-harm    

(24/7) Email: mary@pieta.ie

Website:  www.pieta.ie

1800 247 247

Rape Crisis Midwest

Email: info@rapecrisis.ie

Website:  www.rapecrisis.ie/home.html

1800 311 511

Samaritans, confidential listening service     

(24/7) E-mail: jo@samaritans.org

Website: www.samaritans.org/

For 24 hour confidential text support text to 087-2609090

116 123

 

 

 

 

As part of your student experience you will at some point find yourself on a co-op or work placement or abroad on Erasmus. For the most part, students enjoy these experiences and are very happy. However, some students find this to be the very time they need some extra support. There are a number of options for you. These include:

 

  • Seeking counselling support from your host university, local Jigsaw (if in Ireland), or even through a work EAP scheme if there is one.
  • Looking through some online apps and websites for support. Please see the list below which we have put together for your convenience.
  • Reading through some of the leaflets on the UL counselling website, https://ulsites.ul.ie/studentaffairs/counselling-service
  • Contacting the UL counselling service for some support. You can do this by emailing counselling@ul.ie, explaining your circumstances, and requesting a ‘phone drop-in’ call. Please provide your mobile number and a preferred day for a phone-call. An Assistant Psychologist will phone you at the Irish drop-in time (either 10am or 2pm) on your preferred day. They will take some demographic details, conduct a brief questionnaire, and ask some questions about your wellbeing in order to get a sense of your difficulties. Should you need counselling, you will be placed on the waiting list, although such counselling will occur either over the phone or via email, based on your preference.

 

E-Resources for Positive Well-Being

Apps

Smart phone apps can be a really useful way to practice breathing and meditation exercises to help with stress and anxiety.

Online Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

CBT can be a useful way to challenge how we think and act to help with anxiety and low mood. Online programmes offers the opportunity to learn CBT skills.

  1. Aware Life Skills Online: www.aware.ie/education/life-skills-online-programme/
  2. CBT Online: www.online-therapy.com/cbt
  3. Mood Gym: https://moodgym.com.au/

 

Self-Help Resources

Self-help materials can give us coping skills to help us through times of distress.

  1. Information and exercise sheets:
  1. Specific self-help intervention packages:

 

Websites

Futureme.org

Write a letter to your future self.

Mind.org.uk

Mental health support and information.

Pleasetalk.ie

Ireland’s student-led mental health movement.

Reachout.com

Information on issues that can affect your mental health and well-being.

Spunout.ie

Ireland’s youth information website created by young people, for young people.

 

See our e-resources leaflet for even more information

U.L. Éist Student Counselling Service Information Sheet for Students 

What is the UL Counselling Service? 

UL Éist Student Counselling and Wellbeing Service is a professional psychological, primary care level, short-term, free and confidential service that assists students to progress through university life with all its stresses, strains, changes and adjustments.  

The U.L. Éist Student Counselling & Wellbeing Service is located within the Student Affairs Division alongside other student support services such as Chaplaincy, Student Health, Disability Office, Access Office, Mature Students Office and Student Support Officers.  

Who can access the service?  

All U.L. registered undergraduate and postgraduate students.  

Who are the team members? 

The service has a team of professionally trained, accredited and widely experienced psychotherapists, counsellors, chartered clinical psychologists, and chartered counselling psychologists who provide a range of supports to students, including one-to-one counselling sessions.  

The team includes three assistant psychologists (APs). Assistant Psychologists are working towards gaining entry to professional training in educational psychology, counselling psychology or clinical psychology. Assistant Psychologists provide the drop-in service and facilitate one-to-one Cognitive Behaviour Support sessions with students.  

The service also includes therapists and psychologists in professional training. Students will be offered the option of attending a trainee if they wish but are not required to do so. Trainees provide counselling sessions and are under the close supervision of the Head/Deputy Head of Counselling.  

What sort of issues can be supported through the U.L. Eist Student Counselling & Wellbeing Service? 

Students present to the service with wide-ranging issues including; anxiety, stress and low mood, academic issues, family and/or relationship difficulties, loss, sexual issues, and identity issues. It also includes support around times of transition and change such as adjusting to college life, a new culture, life changes and dealing with dilemmas or difficult decisions.  

Is the service confidential? 

The service is confidential and operates within the terms of confidentiality as laid down by the Psychological Counsellors in Higher Education Ireland (PCHEI). This means that your personal details are not disclosed to anyone outside of the service without your permission. However, there are some exceptions to confidentiality. These include: 

  • Liaising with key people when there is a threat to your own safety or the safety of someone else, e.g., if you communicate plans of suicide or plans to harm someone else. Examples of those who may be contacted include your Next-of-Kin, ambulance staff, the Gardai, etc. Only the minimum number of people required to ensure your safety will be informed. 

  • Meeting legal requirements of the Children’s First policy (2015). Psychologists and psychotherapists are mandated by law to report harm to children to the Child and Family Agency (Túsla). Such harm includes emotional, physical, sexual abuse and/or neglect. 

Sharing of information:  

We occasionally liaise with services/departments at the University of Limerick to verify student information in order to provide our service or assess our service delivery. For example, the Counselling Service may need to compare students who are at risk of dropping out of university against those who actually dropped out. This requires liaising with Academic Registry. Work such as this helps us know if the Counselling Service is providing a useful service to students and the university. Only quantitative information and anonymous data is shared by such comparisons – no identifying information is shared.  

We maintain basic case notes on all students. These are kept in an electronic database which is password and fob protected. We engage in research, evaluations, and audits of our service from time to time. This requires employing unidentifiable, anonymised, aggregate data. Your personal details are not included in such research. 

When is the right time to seek support?  

Students frequently say that they didn't think their problem is serious enough to contact the service and that they do not want to waste the team’s time. Talking to somebody at this stage, before things escalate, is often the best course of action and is to be encouraged. We would much rather you come when an issue is at an early stage and that it is prevented from escalating. Not everyone who contacts the service needs or wants counselling and may benefit from our wellbeing and resilience programme. It is never too early and never too late to contact the service.  

What supports are offered?  

Our stepped care model of service delivery, ensures that appropriate levels of supports are available to students depending on their needs. Services are available Monday-Friday between 9am and 5pm. The stepped care model includes 4 steps:   

Step 1: Wellbeing and Resilience Programme 

This includes our drop-in service through which all students access the service by emailing counselling@ul.ie to arrange a 10-15 minute call with an assistant psychologist who talks through your presenting issues and following consultation with the Head or Deputy Head of Counselling emails you your individualised support plan which may include supports from step 1, 2, 3 or 4.  

Step 1 can include attendance at one-to-one Cognitive Behaviour sessions with an assistant psychologist. This is distinguished from counselling in that it offers very focussed, goal-directed support with specific problems or concerns of the student. For example, students presenting with stress/anxiety/low-mood/specific fears often find that learning key coping skills, grounding techniques, and goal-setting is more helpful to them at this time in their life than talking about their history or wider difficulties. 

Online supports are also available through step 1 and may include self-help CBT programmes such as Silvercloud, online webinars, reading material. If this level of support is appropriate for you, you will receive the specific information in your support plan.  

Throughout the academic year, students may also be able to attend various groups on specific topics. Roll out of group interventions is dependent on the demand throughout the year. If available students will be informed of appropriate groups through their individual support plan following drop-in.  

 

Step 2: Talk Therapy 

Counselling is not the same as giving advice. Rather, a counsellor seeks to help you to focus on and understand more clearly the issues that concern you. By respecting your own values, choices and lifestyle, the counsellor can work with you towards making choices or changes that are right for you. 

Counselling is not any one thing but is adapted by the counsellor to fit the needs of each student. Counselling is basically about a relationship with another person who is skilled and has expertise in dealing with the difficulties encountered by students. This relationship is one of support, education and challenge, warmth and empathy.  

The initial session consists of a detailed assessment and evaluation of the situation presented by you. The counsellor explains about the nature of the work and what you might expect. Goals and objectives of counselling are established at this point. It will normally be on a weekly or fortnightly basis, for up to six sessions.  

 

Step 3: Extended Talk Therapy 

In some circumstances and with the review and approval of the Head/Deputy Head of Counselling, students may be offered a further six sessions if deemed appropriate.   

Step 4: Specialist Services 

In some instances, a student who attends Drop-in may have mental health needs that require more specialist assessment and/or long-term intervention. In these circumstances the student will be supported to access the most appropriate service for their needs. Examples of specialist services include; The HSE Adult Mental Health Teams, addiction services, rape crisis services, disability services, The HSE National Counselling Service etc. All students should be registered with a GP, and it is often helpful if you inform your GP that you are attending the U.L. Eist Student Counselling & Wellbeing Service. Although rare, occasionally, some HSE services will not accept a referral from the UL Counselling Service. Being registered with a GP outside of the university will overcome this issue should it arise. 

 

How do I make an appointment? 

You can access the drop-in service by emailing counselling@ul.ie and informing the service administrator of what day/time suits you best. The daily drop-in take place from 10.00–11.00 and 14.00–15.00. You will be asked to complete an intake form and a self-assessment questionnaire. An Assistant Psychologist will contact you either via phone, MS Teams or arrange an in-person meeting depending on Covid-19 operational guidelines. This meeting with be 10-15 minutes in duration. They will review your details and establish what has brought you to the counselling & wellbeing service. 

At drop-in, you and the assistant psychologist can decide on the best way forward. Some find the drop-in sufficient on its own; others will want/need to access support at step 1, 2, 3 or 4 and this will be considered by the Head/Deputy Head of Counselling,  

What if I miss my appointment? 

The service requires at least 24 hours' notice of cancellation. It is your responsibility to notify the service administrator at least 24 hours in advance so that the time slot can be allocated to someone else. If an appointment is cancelled at short notice (inside 24 hours), due the demands on the service, this will be counted as one of your sessions. Repeated missed appointments without adequate reason will result in sessions being discontinued and your being referred back to the drop-in centre. Wait lists may apply.  

Can I ask for a particular counsellor? 

You will be allocated an appointment with the first available counsellor. Requests to attend specific counsellors cannot be catered for. Requests to see a counsellor of a particular gender will be considered on merit. 

Is there an emergency service? 

The U.L. Eist Student Counselling and Wellbeing Service operates an emergency, same-day, appointment process for emergency situations. If this arises, the service will arrange for you to see a counsellor quickly– so please do not let the busyness of the service put you off coming, especially when something is urgent. In the case of medical emergencies, or where your life or the life of another person is at risk, staff at the Counselling Service will support you to access the medical service/call emergency services/your next of kin/emergency contact to assist you in accessing immediate support through A&E, depending on your presentation. If you are at immediate risk outside of normal working hours, we recommend that you contact emergency services and/or attend your local A&E department. If you are not at immediate risk, but would like to access crisis services 24/7, you may find the following services useful: Text 'UL' to 50808 for text chat support, Pieta House on 1800 247 247, The Samaritans on 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.ie, your local out of hours G.P. service e.g. ShannonDoc 0818 123 500. The crisis mental health team in Univesity Hospital Limerick can be reached on 061 301111.

How do I give feedback on the service? 

As part of this service’s quality control procedures, all students attending the service are asked to complete an evaluation form once counselling has ended. Alternatively, you can supply anonymous feedback online by clicking the following link: https://unioflimerick.eu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_eE96fyTzxBUJ9CR. 

 

Child Safeguarding Statement

2. Nature of service and principles to safeguard children from harm

     1. Name of service being provided:

         UL Éist Student Counselling and Wellbeing Service

     2.Nature of service and principles to safeguard children from harm

This service provides a primary mental health care to students of the University of Limerick. The essential aim of UL Éist is to support student learning and development and thus maximise students’ potential to benefit from their university experience. The main objective of the service is to provide a high-quality professional counselling service to students who experience emotional or psychological problems that inhibit their personal development and academic performance. It achieves this by providing a one-to-one drop-in service, one-to-one cognitive behavioural supports to students on campus, group workshops to students on campus, and one-to-one counselling sessions to students on campus. Students may also contact or be contacted by the service via telephone or UL based email. Students also can access the counselling service website to download psycho-education based leaflets or link to online podcasts, talks, and websites on topics of mental wellbeing. Any student enrolled at UL can avail of the services of UL Éist. Whilst most students are aged 18 or over, a minority commence university life at the age of 17 and are thus classed as ‘children’. Our guiding principle is that nothing we do should harm service users in any way and everything we do should support their mental wellbeing. Furthermore, in line with the ethos of primary care, UL Éist works to link students with community and specialist services when their needs are more appropriate to those services and empowers them to seek supports within and outside of the university where that is their wish.

The purpose of this statement is to promote the welfare of children and keep them safe from harm whilst engaged with UL Éist Student Counselling and Wellbeing Service.

The safety and welfare of children is a key priority as required under Children’s First Act (2015), Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children (2017). This service specific Child Safeguarding Statement should be considered in the context of the overarching University Child Safeguarding Statement.

and related Safeguarding Children Policy and Procedures as well as the Policies and Procedures of the UL Counselling Service.

 

Risk identified

Procedure in place to manage risk identified

 note that UL relevant policies, procedures and related documents are underlined in text below for easy identification without a number whilst internal UL Éist policies and procedures are underlined and followed by numerical reference, e.g., (1.2).

 

1

 

Psychological harm as a result of inappropriate or inexpert services, such as counselling, Assistant Psychology support, other support provision, and/or referrals

Low Risk: The following procedures are in place to address this risk:

(1) We make sure that we recruit and select only the most suitable candidates for the roles of Assistant Psychologist, Student Counsellor, and Deputy/ Head of Counselling, in accordance with UL HR Garda Vetting** and UL Recruitment/Employment Policies;

(2) We ensure that all our counsellors are members of IACP/ IAHIP/ PsSI etc., with qualifications as required for membership.

(3) We expect attendance at ongoing supervision and CPD training for these counsellors, which they must attend in line with the rules of their accrediting body. Such attendance is specified in the policies and procedures of the counselling service under Supervision (7.1) and Professional Development (7.2).

(4) We expect employed staff to attend mandatory weekly team meetings to discuss cases and receive support from the team, as referred to in the Policies and Procedures of the service under Staff Meetings (7.4).

(5) Support is provided from line-management for all employees, assistant psychologists, and trainee psychotherapists involved with the service.

(6) All referrals are made in accordance with our Policy on Referrals (2.1) to ensure that they are made in timely and appropriate manner.

(7) A UL Student Complaints procedure is in place for undergraduate and postgraduate students should a student feel the need to have a situation formally resolved.

 

 

Psychological harm and in extreme cases, increased risk of suicide, as a result of undue delay in accessing counselling and other specialist services in crisis situations especially

Medium Risk: Crisis situations in which counselling or other urgent assistance is sought are not an everyday occurrence. However, some protocols exist to manage such circumstances:

(1). The counselling service has a protocol for dealing with Suicidal Emergencies (5.2). Where assessment reveals that crisis appointments are necessary, these can be provided by UL Éist for a holding period. Where necessary, Referral from the Counselling Service (2.2) can be made to psychiatry in the medical service

 

Non-crisis requests for counselling will be placed on a waiting list and people will be allocated counselling hours as soon as these become available, having regard to current resources.

3

 

Sexual exploitation and violence arising via inappropriate and un-boundaried  counselling experiences with unsuitable individuals

Low Risk:

(1). This risk is addressed primarily through: meticulous and careful recruitment and selection as set out in in accordance with UL HR Garda Vetting* and UL Recruitment/Employment Policies; registration with a professional body, such as IACP/ IAHIP/ PsSI; and attendance at personal Supervision (7.1) and staff-meetings (7.4).

(2). Psychotherapy trainees and interns are required to attend meetings with line-management for Internal Supervision (8.4).

(3) We ensure that all clients, and especially those under 18, are made aware that if they have any concern about our staff’s behaviour, they can report it under the UL Student Complaints Procedure and the Counselling Service Complaints Procedure (6.3). The manager will take action to ensure that anyone accused of sexually inappropriate behaviour/or sexual will be dealt with according to the UL Child Protection Policy and Guidelines.

4

 

Failure to have due regard to young people’s rights to privacy and confidentiality, subject to Children First Act and other legal obligations

Low Risk:

(1) Apart from the usual exceptions such as Children First reporting requirements, Court Orders or other Legal Implications regarding Confidentiality (3.2) (e.g., those arising out of Withholding of Information legislation) all staff and trainees at UL Éist maintain the strictest confidentiality in relation to sensitive and other personal information disclosed to us by our clients, in line with our Principles on Confidentiality (3.1).

(2) We comply with Data Protection legislation (UL Student Data Protection Privacy Notice) and UL Data Protection Policy;

 

5

Failure to have comply with Children’s First (CF) Legislation:

Reporting of child abuse concerns

Low Risk:  

The priorities of the Children First Act (2015) is recognised by UL management and UL Éist in conjunction with the UL Child Protection Guidelines and the Child Protection Guidelines of UL Éist (5.3.1; 5.4.2; 5.3.3). Non-mandated persons will first consult with the Designated Liaison Person (DLP) in relation to any child protection concerns or disclosures in order to establish if reasonable grounds for concern exist. Reporting to Tusla occurs via the DLP.

Mandated persons will consult with the DLP and if the relevant threshold is reached will report to Tusla jointly. Mandated persons in the context of their personal legal responsibilities may also report directly to Tusla and will inform the DLP of any such report.

The Designated Liaison Person for UL is Philip Thornton (Philip.thornton@ul.ie ; tel. 061 202239) at the University of Limerick.

(1). All staff are made aware of the legislation and protocols of reporting as per the UL Child Protection Guidelines and UL Éist Child Protection Guidelines (5.3.1; 5.4.2; 5.3.3).

(2). All team members have either attended or are instructed to attend Children’s First training to keep them informed of the legislation. Briefings and training on the CF Act, 2015, takes place on a regular basis.

(3). Potential reporting needs are discussed with line management via Supervision (7.1) and Staff Meetings (7.4).

(3). Where disclosure is necessary, pertaining to the Children’s First (CF) Act, 2015, or other reason, we explain these reasons in detail to all clients and take special care with those under 18 to reassure them that we will support them as much as possible throughout potentially challenging reporting and disclosure procedures, again in line with our own Confidentiality Policies at UL Éist (3.1; 3.2).

 

 

 

 

* All policies and procedures of the University of Limerick are available online: https://www.ul.ie/hr/current-staff/hr-policies-procedures-forms-z

UL Éist documents are available at UL Éist.

4.     Procedures

Our Child Safeguarding Statement has been developed in line with requirements under the Children First Act 2015, the Children First: National Guidance, and Tusla’s Child Safeguarding: A Guide for Policy, Procedure and Practice. In addition to the procedures listed in our risk assessment, the following procedures and policies support our intention to safeguard children while they are availing of our service:

➪           Procedure for the management of allegations of abuse or misconduct against workers/volunteers of a child availing of UL Éist:  UL Student Complaints Procedure and the Counselling Service Complaints Procedure (6.3).

➪           Procedure for the safe recruitment and selection of staff: UL HR Garda Vetting and UL Recruitment/Employment Policies

➪           Procedure for provision of and access to child safeguarding training and information, including the identification of the occurrence of harm: UL Child Protection Guidelines and UL Éist Child Protection Guidelines (5.3.1; 5.4.2; 5.3.3).

➪           Procedure for the reporting of child protection or welfare concerns to Tusla: UL Child Protection Guidelines and UL Éist Child Protection Guidelines (5.3.1; 5.4.2; 5.3.3).

➪           Procedure for maintaining a list of the persons in the relevant service who are mandated persons: UL Child Protection Guidelines

➪           Procedure for appointing a relevant person: UL Child Protection Guidelines

All procedures, policies and related documents listed or referred to are available from the UL http://www.ul.ie/hr/hr-policies-procedures-and-forms-z and from HR. UL Éist documents are available at UL Éist.

5.      Implementation

We recognise that implementation is an ongoing process. Our service is committed to the implementation of this Child Safeguarding Statement and the procedures that support our intention to keep children safe from harm while availing of our service.

This Child Safeguarding Statement will be reviewed in August 2020, or as soon as practicable after there has been a material change in any matter to which the statement refers.

Signed: Dr. Lucy Smith

(Head of Counselling; UL Éist Student Counselling and Wellbeing Service; 061 202327)

                                               

For queries, please contact: Philip Thornton

(Health & Safety Officer; Relevant Person under the Children First Act 2015).

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