About Yvonne - our Founder
Yvonne Newbold MBE is an expert-by-experience in Learning Disability and Autism thanks to her son, Toby, who has taught her so much over the past 27 years. She is also the Founder of Newbold Hope which provides help, support, and training to parents and professionals who care for SEND children and young people who behave in difficult and dangerous ways. Due to this work, she now knows several hundred families who have been able to move their children beyond their violent or extreme behavior episodes and who are now living much happier lives and with a much more optimistic future ahead of them. Yvonne is also a member of the NHS Assembly and works with the NHS to amplify the voices of her community at a national policy and strategy level in many other streams of work associated with learning disabilities and autism. Yvonne’s book, “The Special Parent’s Handbook” is an Amazon number one bestseller, and she does all this work as part of the “bucket-list” commitment she made when she was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer with a very poor prognosis. She received an MBE in the 2021 New Year’s Honours List for services to children with special educational needs and disabilities and to their families.
Hope – When a family finds our community for the first time, their child’s behaviour may have become so difficult and dangerous that things at home can be very unpredictable and frightening. Things may seem very bleak indeed, and parents often can’t bear to look ahead into the future because the thought of their child becoming an adult with these sorts of behaviours is just too distressing. We try to give them hope. We know, through the work we’ve done with thousands of other families in the same very difficult situation, that things really can and do get better for families once they know that we believe in them and their children, and when we can help and support them to parent in the way their child needs instead of the way that society expects us to parent.
Belief – We believe that there are happier, calmer, and much more hopeful times ahead for every child and every family. We believe in parents when everyone else is blaming and judging them for their child’s behavior. We believe in every child when society has all but given up on them. This is a group of children who are often excluded from school, or involved with the police, and generally vilified by everyone they come into contact with. We believe in them when very few other people do.
Understanding – We “get it”. Everyone involved with Newbold Hope has been there too with their own children. We know how tough it is and how it affects everyone in the family – the child themselves, their brothers and sisters, their mum and dad, and all their wider family and friends as well. We have experienced the isolation, the judgment, the blame, and the lack of understanding that is part and parcel of being in this situation. We have experienced the long-term effects of continual difficult and dangerous behavior on the whole family. We are able to offer understanding, solidarity, and a sense of community where families know they are accepted and valued. Together our community can offer support, solidarity, compassion, understanding, and a sense of belonging where everyone works together to support and care for each other, sharing practical ideas and suggestions that can only come from the real family life of people with lived experience.
Curiosity – This is one of our favorite words! When you stay curious, and you keep asking the “WHY?” questions about a child’s behavior, it’s almost impossible to close your heart or to make up your mind. That means that you’re very likely to become judgemental and add to the damage that is done to the mental health and emotional well-being of everyone who is a part of our community, adults and children alike.
Kindness – Kindness is so powerful, it can help people to begin to recover and heal from the negativity, judgment and blame that they may have had directed at them by their own circle of family and friends, from neighbors or passers-by when out and about, and by professional staff from schools, healthcare, and social services. Kindness can change lives for the better and we strive to extend it ourselves, we have high expectations of it in our community, and we strongly suggest that it can also work wonders towards a child who may seem unlovable at times due to their extreme behaviors.
Authenticity – Everything we do is because we have been there ourselves and we know how it feels. We want to ensure that other families don’t have to wait in terror and isolation for years for help and support that never comes. Children and families are at the absolute heart of everything we do.
Newbold Hope supports parents and professionals to develop the confidence and the skills they need that will enable them to reduce or completely eradicate anxiety-led difficult and dangerous behaviours in children and young people with additional needs and disabilities. We also strive to challenge the societal perceptions of judgement and blame towards families who are facing childhood behavioural difficulties, to create more compassionate understanding, support, and much needed acceptance.
Newbold Hope is working towards creating a society where anxiety-led SEND childhood aggression is much more widely understood and addressed with compassion to enable these children and their families to receive urgent and appropriate support. We would like to ensure that every child who has difficult or dangerous behaviour is able to regain a happy and calm childhood without extreme behaviour, so that they can look forward to meaningful adult futures filled with promise and hope
The Story of Newbold Hope - shorter version
Newbold Hope is the new name for The SEND VCB Project, which has been running since April 2017. It’s called “Newbold” after its founder, Yvonne Newbold, and her son, Toby Newbold, who is the inspiration for everything Yvonne does for this community of families. It’s also called “Hope” because that’s what parents tell us we give them when they first find us. The two words together also suggest that it will be a special sort of New Bold Hope that perhaps, beforehand, they didn’t dare to believe could happen.
Toby was born with a syndrome that’s so rare he is thought to be the only person in the world with his very rare and unique condition. His early childhood was dominated by severe ill-health when his family came very close to losing him several times over, and he was never expected to survive past early childhood. However, he is now 27, and living a very happy and full life.
As Toby got older and his health began to stabilise, his behaviour deteriorated into very difficult and dangerous episodes where he was often violent towards his own family members. Despite asking for help and advice from almost everyone who was on Toby’s education, medical, therapeutic or social services team, nobody seemed to know what to do. Instead, it was assumed that it must be Yvonne’s fault, that she lacked good parenting skills and that she was the cause of all Toby’s difficult behaviour. This repeated blame, judgement and shaming from the professionals involved with Toby’s care was also coming from Yvonne’s own circle of friends, family, neighbours and even strangers passing by.
Yvonne knows how much damage continual blame and judgement does to a struggling parent, particularly at a time when they are facing an incredibly difficult family life with a child who has unpredictable and volatile behaviour that risks injury to every member of the family on a daily basis. She was also led to believe that this was so rare that her family were the only ones in this situation.
Some years later, almost by accident, Yvonne discovered that this issue is actually far more common than anyone had previously acknowledged, and there are likely to be around a quarter of a million UK families living with their own SEND child’s anxiety and distress-related dangerous and difficult behaviour. Yet there are nowhere near enough services which have been developed to properly support these children and their families, and staff from education, healthcare, social services and the third sector receive virtually no training in this whatsoever, so it’s not their fault that they are so poorly equipped to be able to offer the essential help, support and advice that could make all the difference.
That’s why Yvonne started The SEND VCB Project to try and fill this gap between the real needs of thousands of families and the lack of robust provision that can help. It’s part of her bucket list, started when she received a diagnosis of Stage 4 cancer with a very poor prognosis.
The project has been phenomenally successful, and as a result of the work their parents’ have been able to achieve with the support of Yvonne and her team, there are now several hundred children who have been able to move beyond their very difficult behaviour episodes and who are now living much happier and calmer lives with much more hopeful futures ahead of them.
Up until now the whole project has been run on a shoestring and it’s now time to look towards the future. Although Yvonne’s health is fairly stable, she has now been on continual cancer treatment for nine years, she is living with a terminal diagnosis, and it’s time to make longer term plans, and build a team who can carry on this work when Yvonne is no longer able to do it herself. Newbold Hope is applying to become a Community Interest Company, and there are exciting plans in place which will secure the future of this organisation far into the future so that we can continue to reach out and help the families who really need this sort of help and support.
SEND VCB stands for Special Educational Needs and Disabilities, Violent and Challenging Behaviour.