the story

The Story of Flower 125 – what’s in a name?

By Flower 125 founders Bethan Plant and Siobhan McFeely:

“We brought the equipment to the resource house: coloured pens, pre-printed quizzes, reward stickers…and of course some biscuits and squash. When we arrived, there were already a few young people waiting outside the house at 125 Honeysuckle Road. We entered together and as we set up, the young people awaited in curious expectation.

Our first activity (a quiz) went belly up within 5 minutes. They threw the pens around the room, refused to sit down and finally started rampaging throughout the house. One of us was locked in a room unable to get out and the other threatened us with a gate over her head.

We managed to call the police who came to a house with all of the windows put through, no young people in sight and two broken would-be facilitators…”

People on the Flower Estate in Sheffield were used to agencies coming with good intentions and going with dashed expectations. Bethan Plant, a development worker with the National Health Authority (as it was known in 1998) and Siobhan McFeely (a practice nurse at the Bluebell Medical Centre on the estate) were familiar with the local issues: severe deprivation with crime and drug use figures through the roof.

While it was tempting to put their experience down to the young people being difficult, that was not going to change things. Too many do-gooders came and went that way. Bethan and Siobhan went back to the drawing board: a period of research, development and reflection on their practice and their learning.

During that period, they found a book that would guide the way: The Incredible Years: A Trouble-shooting Guide for Parents of Children Aged 2-8 Years by Carolyn Webster-Stratton. Her writing about praise and immediate positive recognition resonated with them and complemented their knowledge of health and youth work.

Bethan and Siobhan developed their particular model, which underpins the success of the Flower 125 Health Programme (based on the name of the estate and the address where they first worked).

The Flower 125 project moved into a local secondary school after a successful year in the community. Following the design and delivery of the training programme for facilitators as well as their comprehensive resource pack (The Weapon of Mass Instruction), this unique educational project has since won several national awards.

The Flower 125 Health Programme continues to evolve with the help of health and education professionals across the UK and most critically, young people who have experienced, transformed and flourished because of it.

Reach out to us to discuss how this kind of work can transform the way you deliver small group work in your school or setting.