The Athena Programme

The Athena Programme is an award-winning company which specialises in helping organisations safeguard children, young people and vulnerable adults through training and consultancy.

Set up by Sarah Carlick, the company leads this field in this sector, which is backed up by the number of clients and enquiries they now get from those who never question their expertise.

A range of services are offered across a broad spectrum of sectors but the main theme always centres around changing current practice and promoting culturally safer organisations.  This is done through developing and delivering bespoke training courses, ensuring organisations are fully compliant and establishing policies and procedures where necessary as well as helping make the most of staff and resources.

Sarah Carlick has now become established as one of the leading experts when it comes to safeguarding children and adults at risk.  Based in Manchester, she has steadily built up a strong relationship with local authorities and those working across all sectors to secure better futures for those most at risk. She has developed a style all of her own and has already gained media attention as an expert in her field as well as Ambassador to the Tick Tock Committee and Ambassador for Target Ovarian Cancer.

Sarah, who lost her mother to ovarian cancer and also carries the BRCA gene, has now undergone preventative surgery – but it was as a leading industry figure in safeguarding that she wanted her profile raised, particularly in popular media such as The Manchester Evening News and regional TV and Radio.

Sarah Carlick, Founder & Director of the Athena Programme, said:

“I’d already established a good relationship with Fiona and the team through a monthly hit list of media stories that they then personalised and turned round for me to use on The Athena Programme website and other social media forums.  But I realised that with their strong news backgrounds they could really help me focus my press campaign on those areas that would actually get what I was trying to achieve.

“FDPR really understand me and appreciate that I’m pretty honest when it comes to explaining what I want from them but they equally appreciate that I’m a hard working single mum who needs more than 24 hours in a day and their quick turnaround really helps my flow of information and takes the stress and extra time out of communications.”

Knowing that Sarah really wanted to focus her press effort on national broadsheets and large regionals, we set about creating opportunities within the TV planning teams who needed a voice when it came to talking about the more controversial and difficult stories surrounding safeguarding vulnerable members of society. The more complex the topic the longer it takes to orchestrate good media opportunities so Sarah’s name is now being seen as the person to consider when dealing with tough issues such as FGM and child bullying.

It’s also essential that the media and their readers get to know the face of the woman behind the Athena Programme so we have sent Sarah’s business and personal achievements on to them plus headshots for use in their business sections. Industry experts also need to get to know Sarah as a lot of her time is spent developing the workforce across all sectors in the hope that they are better equipped when it comes to spotting potential danger areas within the workplace and the home.

Sarah has appeared in the Manchester press’ business sections, local youth and mainstream radio stations and local TV channel ‘That’s TV’, and has been approached by national broadsheets and BBC documentary makers for her involvement in the FGM debate and CSE issues.

Christina Colmer McHugh, Account Manager at FDPR, said:

“Sarah really is a breath of fresh air and her focus and attention to detail when dealing with the very complex and often traumatic aspects of people most at risk is second to none. Her awareness and forever changing reaction and response to new legislation, and how it will impact on her clients, their charges and indeed sectors as a whole, is testament to her tireless efforts to bring safeguarding children and adults at risk to the forefront of our society. It’s an honour to work with someone whose professionalism is 101%. She has overcome huge personal hurdles and she is a true inspiration to every woman, man and child.”

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