Meet the team: Sue Penna



26th February 2020


Sue Penna

Sue Penna is Chief Creative Officer at Rock Pool and a UK pioneer of ‘trauma-informed training’.

She was one of the first people in the UK to recognise a growing need for better understanding by frontline service providers of trauma and the effects it can have on behaviour. 

This led to the launch of Rock Pool, providers of specialist training and consultancy to organisations supported those affected by trauma. Rock Pool was the first consultancy to emerge recognising the need for and specialising in training in this area, now working with organisations such as local authorities, police and crime commissioners, the prison service, children’s charities and family and domestic abuse support services.

Rock Pool is the culmination of Sue’s 30 years’ experience as an occupational therapist specialising in psychotherapy for adults who had suffered abuse as children and domestic violence for the NHS, local authorities and charities.

Pioneering training programmes

In 2007, Sue wrote her first programme based on trauma-informed cognitive behavioural therapy and other practices, designed to provide support and assist the recovery of the women she was supporting.

She felt that many existing services pigeonholed people as the ‘damaged victims’ rather than offering them a pathway towards hope, empowerment and recovery.

The programme developed into training for frontline staff to help them support adults and children who had suffered domestic violence or other forms of abuse.

After 10 years delivering this programme, Sue felt there was still a huge audience she wasn’t reaching.

Rock Pool was the solution.

Launched as a community interest company in 2018, Sue and her co-founder Kirsty Passmore pulled together an expert team to form Rock Pool and deliver the training to all frontline services such as the police, probation teams, social services, health visitors and many charities across England, Scotland and Wales.

Rock Pool’s course portfolio includes trauma-informed practice training for organisations to offer a better understanding of trauma and its impacts. Additionally, recovery toolkit facilitator programmes enable delegates to then deliver the trauma-informed toolkits to people who have experienced different types of trauma and courses, and specific Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) training for practitioners working with families and children.

The company’s innovative, practical solutions and training are informed by lived experience and what is known to work.

Their aim is to support individuals to lead independent lives free of the involvement of services – benefiting the whole of society.

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