Case Studies


M3 Project is a registered charity that has been providing housing related support in East Lancashire to young people aged 16 -25, since February 2003 transforming the lives of individuals through housing care and associated services.

M3 Project works with partner agencies, e.g. local housing Options Teams, the Young People’s Service, Children’s Social Care as well as a dedicated team of volunteers to offer a comprehensive package of accommodation and support to homeless and inadequately housed young people across the region.

In addition to the core supported lodgings scheme (funded by Supporting People) the project incorporates both short term emergency accommodation and a project providing independent move-on accommodation for teenage families (single parents and couples).

The project covers the East Lancashire footprint, offering 12 supported lodgings placements, 4 emergency lodgings placements as well as 8 units of move-on accommodation for teenage parents.

The Challenge

M3 Project approached Athena in June 2013 looking for a training course in Child Sexual Exploitation Awareness. Their training need was identified due to a number of high profile criminal trials of gangs of men in the UK for child sexual exploitation (CSE), including one in the Rochdale area which is a geographically adjacent to the operating area of M3 Project.

M3 Project had also identified that there were similarities between the young person’s at increased risk of CSE and the young people that they support and provide housing to.

M3 wanted the course to be delivered to six front line staff in the Emergency Lodgings, Supported Lodgings and Move-On teams. However they wanted to be able to bring in other delegates into the training from their partner support groups to make the training more cost effective and fully inclusive.

The Athena Solution

Athena designed a training programme that included a variety of learning approaches which were participative, inclusive and interactive. The programme would give opportunities for discussion, individual and group activities, critical reflection and problem solving.

Using Athena’s wealth of training resources, a bespoke trainer’s script was designed detailing training resources, materials, training exercises or activities, learning outcomes and timings.  An accompanying ‘power point’ presentation was designed to support the needs of some learners.

The programme was designed and included the most recent Serious Case Reviews around child sexual exploitation to demonstrate findings and lessons learned.

A pre-course handout was designed that was clear and concise and recapped the main themes of the programme. They also included links which directed participants to internet or intranet support.

The Outcome

An up-to-date, interactive and fun training course was created that fitted the requirements of M3 Project. The work was completed in an organised, friendly and timely and way and resulted in the development of confidence and awareness levels for the M3 workers. The interactive training methods were complemented by a ‘power point’ presentation.

The use of real life case studies and investigations brought reality and credibility to the training programme which demonstrated that the M3 Project staff are in key positions to identify child sexual exploitation.

Current and relevant safeguarding issues agreed with M3 Project were planed into the key messages including recent preventative Safeguarding legislation e.g. child abduction warnings and the child abuse disclosure scheme/domestic abuse disclosure pilot schemes.

Athena provided a prompt, friendly and efficient service in this partnership. All telephone discussions, training delivery, training evaluations and certificates were delivered on time to a high standard.

Alan Dorrington said “The Athena training provided not only a comprehensive overview to this issue, but some detailed and tailored good practice guidance to help front-line practitioners in the project work better around this issue with our young people. Despite the serious subject matter, the training day was well paced and fun, giving the staff who attended a great platform from which to increase their learning and improve the quality of their practice.”