In late 2010, Dr Gill Green, MD of STORM® , scooped a 'Dare to be Different' Award from the HE Social Entrepreneurship Awards programme from UnLtd and the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE). UnLtd is a charity which supports social entrepreneurs by providing a complete package of funding and support, to help these individuals make their ideas a reality.
Gill was awarded £15,000 and will also receive business support and mentorship from UnLtd for a year. The money will help towards the start up of STORM® as a community interest company (CIC).
Gill comments: "We are delighted to have been successful. This is a prestigious award and we were up against stiff competition. Although the money will help us to set up the Social Enterprise we have been working towards, it is the recognition for STORM® and its contribution to the community that is the greatest reward."
STORM®'s training packages help frontline staff in health and social care spot the signs of suicidal tendencies and self-injury. The training packages are used across a range of adult and children's services including primary care, A&E departments, third sector services and schools. A new Higher Education package, which consists of two products: Occupational Health (for OH staff) and Higher Education (for staff working with students) is currently being piloted. The University will be one of the first customers.
The STORM® model has been embraced by UK governments as part of their suicide prevention strategies. Attempting to reduce the suicide rate is important; the World Health Organisation estimates that one person will die by suicide every 40 seconds worldwide. To date there has been little skills training in suicide prevention provided to healthcare profesisonals in the UK whose interventions could make the difference between life and death.
Gill explains: "In my work as a clinician and now as a researcher, I have seen a real gap in the market and a need for flexible skills-based training packages in suicide prevention. Training is key if we are to have a responsive workforce that can positively and effectively help people in distress and thinking of ending their lives."
STORM® continues to evolve through ongoing research, with customer feedback helping to improve the product and to identify additional markets.
Explains Gill: "Through a process of continual customer feedback we discovered that there was a further need for a training product that deals with self injury, therefore we have addressed this with the production of an additional STORM® product dealing specifically with this issue."
Dr Martin Henery, HEFCE Social Enterprise Ambassador for the University felt that Gill's success in gaining one of the coveted UnLtd HEFCE awards was fully deserved given both the strength of the business case and the value of their social mission. In fact the University has enjoyed above average success with another 5 student run social enterprises accessing a further £20k in awards from UnLtd. Martin commented that these awards just reflect the strong desire and abilities of both students and staff from this university to create sustainable solutions to some of the bigger social problems that currently face us.