Islay Downey is a very experienced parenting facilitator having worked for 17 years in the field.
She started work in a residential children’s home before training as a nurse. A week after she qualified she flew to Thailand where she spent 18 months working in a Cambodian refugee camp. She oversaw a supplementary feeding programme and spent many hours listening to the refugees’ experiences.
After a short time back in England, Islay went with VSO to the Philippines where she became the resident nurse in a children’s home. The home accommodated over 80 children all who had been abandoned, orphaned or neglected. Islay spent nearly 2 years at the home.
Islay’s work back in England became very varied, working with BP Oil as a Road Safety Officer. She visited primary schools all over the UK teaching road safety to children through a humorous play. She then qualified as a driving instructor.
Islay then went onto work with parents whose children were involved with the Youth Offending Team. In 2006 one of her parenting groups was made the subject of a major 4 part BBC 2 documentary. Following this she was invited to be a regular contributor on BBC Radio Solent.
Islay moved onto working with parents where there was anti social behaviour and is now managing a team of Family Workers who work intensely with families where there are complex issues.
Islay is trained in Multi Family Therapy and will run multi family groups.
Islay regularly runs parenting workshops which helps parents understand why their child behaves the way they do and helps them explore the changes they need to make. She provides staff training for voluntary and statutory organisations and delivers practical techniques for working with parents for 3rd year social work students.
Islay has a passion for enabling people to learn, whether parent or professional. She will use a creative approach from the traditional group learning to taking families camping.
Islay understands the pressures on parents having 2 children of her own.