Who We Are

Emily Nickson-Williams,
Co-founder

Thank you for considering Amity to support your organisation.  I am Emily Nickson-Williams co-founder of Amity Relationship Solutions.  I have extensive experience and knowledge in understanding the dynamics and complexities of all kinds of relationships. I have trained and worked as teacher, life coach, family mediator and strategic lead in Children’s Services, learning both professionally and personally about why relationships need our attention. 

Throughout my career I have been drawn to supporting people.   Initially I taught A level Business Studies, before tutoring drug and alcohol dependent offenders.  I then embarked upon a very successful 18-year career at Rochdale Council working in Children’s Services.  During this time I undertook a number of key strategic roles developing and delivering support programmes, systems and processes for families with multiple and complex needs.  Over many years I have gained expertise in a number of subject matters including parenting and family dynamics, child exploitation, domestic abuse, child to parent violence and abuse, parental conflict, separated parents, family conflict and blended/step-family family difficulties.

I do believe that most relationship challenges can be overcome with the right amount of willingness, compromise and effective support.

My work has drawn national interest and has inspired a large number of local authorities. I am proud to have been nominated for and won local and national innovation awards for my work including a Children and Young People Now award in 2021.

Media and Public Speaking

I am a lively keynote speaker, focusing my conference speeches over the last couple of years on subjects I feel passionately about including family/parental conflict and the impact this has on children’s mental health and outcomes, implementing relationship support models in organisations and local authorities, child to parent violence and abuse, separated parents and blended families.

Recent events

2021: North East Midlands – Reducing Parental Conflict Conference

2020: Dept for Work and Pensions, Troubled Families Conference, keynote

2020: Children In Wales, Family Support Conference 2020 Supporting Attachment and Relationships & having the conversations we need to have. Key note speech parental conflict – improving outcomes in your local authority.

2019: North Yorkshire Council, keynote speech Parental Conflict plus workshop (exploring child to parental violence and abuse)

2019: Salford Council, Keynote speech – How to start a relationship revolution

2019 The Manifesto to Strengthen Families and Greater Manchester: Parental Conflict

2019 Palace of Westminster, Family Hubs Network, keynote speech – relationships and conflict

2019: Early Intervention Foundation: keynote speech  – Learning from Practice Experience

2018: Rochdale Council: Launch of the Rochdale Relationships Matter Revolution

Websites links

https://holesinthewall.co.uk/2020/01/02/a-message-of-hope-for-2020-break4change-in-rochdale/#more-5966

http://www.rochdale.gov.uk/rochdalerelationshipsmatter

https://www.eif.org.uk/resource/rochdale-starting-a-relationship-revolution-to-improve-the-quality-of-relationships-for-everyone

http://rochdaleonline.co.uk/news-features/2/news-headlines/129048/couple-conflict-relationship-champions-in-all-children%E2%80%99s

Kate Nicolle,
Co-founder

I’m Kate Nicolle and I’m one half of Amity and I’m a specialist in relationships and conflict management, I’ve spent over 15 years, creating and delivering conflict interventions for frontline staff, designing and delivering relational training in the corporate world and coaching one to one, couples struggling with their relationships.

So as you can see, I have lots of experience and passion for improving relationships, wherever they occur. I have seen for myself over and over again how disadvantaged people can be if they live with unhealthy relationships, how it can prevent people from living a fulfilled and healthy life. I know that education is the way to change this and that is my aim through my work, to support people to understand how to improve their relationships.

I trained with the Institute of Family Therapy, have worked for sector leading relationship charities Relate and One Plus One as their Learning and Training Development Manager.

I was the subject matter expert and master trainer for the Department of Work and Pensions 2019-21 Reducing Parental Conflict Programme. I have worked with numerous Local Authorities consulting on their RPC strategies and work in the corporate environment too, improving workplace relational skills.

I can be a horrible show off, so coupled with my passion for relationship education I enjoy it when I am asked to be a keynote speaker and have done so on many occasions around the UK, I also feature on local radio answering questions about relationships and write articles featured in numerous publications.

As a founder of Amity I am committed to driving a culture change around talking about relationships and addressing the challenges they can bring.

Amity are on a mission, get in touch if you think we could help you with yours.

 

Associates

Jan Mitcheson
RGN RHV MSc (Community and Public Health) PGCE

I am health visitor by background and passionate about improving family relationships and early intervention and prevention. For over 15 years I have combined my work at the University of Suffolk as programme lead for Specialist Community Public Health Nursing – health visiting and school nursing with that of Deputy Director at the relationship research organisation OnePlusOne.

I have a wealth of experience in developing innovative and creative teaching and learning in the community. At One PlusOne Iled a number of national innovation programmes commissioned by the Department for Work and Pensions and Department of Education in the field of reducing parental conflict. Since 2019, I have worked in a consultancy role with numerous local authorities supporting the development of their relationship support strategies and train the trainer programmes for RPC.

My research interest and expertise is focused on the development of relationships in professional and community practice, as the evidence is convincing the right person with the right skills at the earliest opportunity is makes a difference to outcomes for children and families.

Michelle Hayes

I completed an MA in Relationship Therapy with the Relate Institute. This training integrated systemic and psychodynamic, particularly attachment, theories. However, I consider the main part of my training to be derived from the practical experience and privilege of working with couples, families, separated parents, blended families, individuals, and young people, from whom I have learned so much. Clients come to me when relationships become problematic in their lives. Issues can range from becoming stuck in poor communication patterns, or trying to overcome the legacy of difficult family experiences in childhood, to managing change and transitions, the impact of divorce and separation, and many things in between.  This underpins my passion for supporting people to ‘go wrong better’ when things become sticky in their relationships, for the sake of their own wellbeing, and for the sake of those who depend upon them.

I have been actively engaged in raising awareness of the impact of destructive conflict and poor communication between co-parents on children and young people. I was the Relationship Navigator in Dorset, which was one of the 12 LAs who engaged in the Local Family Offer pilot to explore ways to support co-parent relationships. In this role I provided direct support and training to families and to practitioners, extended the reach of awareness-raising, and planned for sustainability. You can find out more about this here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/local-family-offer-pilot-evaluation-of-phase-1

I have worked with Relate and with One Plus One as a counsellor and associate trainer. I also delivered the DWP RPC training at various locations across the country. Additionally, I co-facilitated a behaviour change programme for perpetrators of domestic abuse. Currently I am supporting the development of ‘Relationship Champions’ in LAs to establish clear pathways to support for families and practitioners and to extend the reach of the message about the importance of addressing co-parental conflict to improve outcomes for children and young people.

Lisa Mills

I have spent the last 20 years directly supporting children and their families, as well as managing and training frontline staff from a variety of disciplines including health, social care, youth justice and education. I am a qualified trainer, assessor and verifier who enjoys watching people’s confidence and delivery grow. I firmly believe that with the right support from well-trained, skilled and passionate practitioners, families can do well and better manage the extremely challenging situations they face. My specific training expertise includes adolescent mentoring, complex safeguarding, domestic abuse, self-harm, cared for children, family mediation, mental health, autism and child to parent abuse.  I also specialise in relational therapeutic direct work with children and have trained social workers and family mediators to help them ensure that every connection they have with a child or young person matters. 

I am proudly passionate about developing public servants so they have access to really good quality, solution focussed tools, which is why I am proud to be an Associate of Amity who understands ‘what works’. Having spent over two decades seeing the devastating impact poor quality relationships can have on family life, I am excited to support organisations across the country to confidently and competently restore relational balance within people’s homes and wider communities.

I understand the difficulties those working with families face on a daily basis. 2020/21 has tested us all in ways that have meant we have had to quickly adapt the way we work and find more flexible innovative ways of supporting people. This has accelerated models of change in local authorities and we now understand more than ever that organisations must work relationally with each other and the families they support in order to achieve sustainable positive outcomes.

Sheena Adam

I have worked with families and children for most of my career both in the statutory and voluntary sector and also had a national role leading on research and development with the Children and Family Advisory and Support Service(Cafcass).

My main role and focus for the past 12 years has been as a family mediator helping reduce conflict and improve communication between parents to prevent the children being caught in the middle.

I also deliver courses for separated parents and directly work with children especially those where the relationship with one of their parents has broken down.

My expertise is in separated families and I am a national key note speaker, having have spoken at major conferences on families and conflict including contributing to the DWP Reducing Parental Conflict Programme.

Most recently I have also delivered training for the National Association of Child Contact Centres. 

I am passionate about couple/parental relationships and communication being key to understanding family situations, preventing children growing up with a poor relationship with one or more of their parents and all the associated issues of low self-esteem, lack of confidence etc. This dates back to my original career as a probation officer when many young offenders struggled because of terrible family situations, through my work with Cafcass and my main family mediation work.

I have also worked with numerous local authorities particularly to secure kinship care and special guardianship situations and prevented many children being in long term care.

Amity’s focus on making relationships central to all of our work makes it a great organisation to be part of and I look forward to delivering training and  talking with lots of skilled practitioners about their work.

Grainne Fegan

I strongly believe that if we can educate and enable healthy and positive relationships between couples and within families it will filter out and positively influence all parts of their lives and wider society.

For the past 20 years my career has been underpinned by strengths-based practice and relational work. I have developed and led a number of innovative projects for families experiencing structural disadvantage and complex difficulties, from domestic abuse to homelessness. I was Practice and Partnership Lead at Newcastle City Council and as part of this I developed and led a team of highly skilled multi-disciplinary practitioners who enabled partnerships, services and families to work together effectively by building positive relationships and resolving any difficulties or conflict using strengths-based techniques.

I developed my team to use models such as Solution Focussed Practice, Solihull, Family Group Conferencing, Appreciative Inquiry, Systemic Practice, Reflective Practice and Video Interactive Guidance.

Today I freelance and have supported and developed a range of projects to improve the quality of relationships by helping children, young people and families build trust and heal from trauma and neglect. 

In 2020/21 I was commissioned by Northumbria Police, the Violence Reduction Unit and 6 Local Authorities to undertake research into Reducing Parental Conflict and Domestic Abuse. A fascinating piece of work I recently carried out was a community consultation with parents and carers in County Durham about their experience of parental conflict and their relationships before and during lockdown.

The findings have inspired and encouraged me to further educate and enable families and organisations to understand the importance of healthy relationships and how to develop them. I am excited to do this as part of the Amity team!