“Find a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”



29th November 2019


Sue Penna

Jo, Rock Pool’s Director of Training and Development, tells her story of how she became a part of the Rock Pool family

I first met Sue Penna in 2012 when I attended training to deliver the Domestic Abuse Recovery toolkit in Manchester. It was also my first experience and understanding of Trauma Informed working.

That particular training course transformed my practice.

At the time I was working as a front-line support worker in refuge and had a lot of experience of working with traumatised individuals and of delivering group work but this was a completely different approach.

When I returned to work and began facilitating the Recovery Toolkit, I saw the impact it had on my clients and how it transformed their lives in a positive way. They would join the group feeling worthless and despairing and would leave the group twelve weeks later feeling empowered, optimistic and hopeful about the future. Most went on to do very positive things with their lives and I saw a definite reduction in people who had attended the group, coming back into services due to returning to their abusive partner or because of further abusive relationships.

In 2016 I had the opportunity to oversee a pilot project for a ‘complex needs’ unit for individuals who had experienced domestic abuse and had mental health or substance misuse issues. When I saw that Sue was facilitating a Master Class in Domestic Abuse and Mental Health, I booked myself and other staff onto the training. Again, I was inspired and motivated by the training I received to such an extent that I asked Sue if there was any opportunities to work with Rock Pool.

It was shortly after this that I became an Associate trainer. All of Rock Pool’s associates are highly experienced and qualified in their fields of work so it was a privilege and honour to be counted among them.

It was also around this time that I met Kirsty, Co-founder and Joint CEO of Rock Pool alongside Sue. Kirsty also inspired me with her vision and obvious passion for Trauma Informed working and for making Rock Pool’s vision for a Trauma informed society a reality.

Earlier this year, an opportunity to work in a consultancy capacity with Rock Pool arose and I jumped at the chance; left my position as a Director of a DA support service to work three days a week writing training and programmes. Since then I have gone on to become a full time member of staff and have set up what I jokingly refer to as the Hertfordshire Outreach office.

It is a privilege to be part of the Rock Pool family and I am extremely grateful to both Sue and Kirsty for this life changing opportunity. The Rock Pool team are all incredible, dedicated and passionate people to work with who embody the values of the organisation. I thoroughly enjoy writing Trauma Informed training and programmes, hearing delegates feedback and knowing that the training we deliver is making changes to peoples to lives.

The culture, values and ethos of Rock Pool are the very definition of what it means to be a trauma informed which makes it a great place to work. Sue and Kirsty genuinely care about their staff, the people they work with and the delegates who attend the training. I feel very proud to be a part of this visionary and progressive organisation.

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