About us

Scott Casson-Rennie – Director

Scott and his husband Tristan were the first same sex couple to adopt children through their local authority in 2007, their sons were 7 and 8. They went on to become Foster Carers, and in 2014 adopted their third son who was 7. Their sons are now 22, 21 and 14. 

Scott provided support to parents voluntarily though local authorities and voluntary adoption agencies, and in 2014 began working fulltime for a national adoption charity, supporting parents and carers.

5 years whizzed by working for the national charity and with his team, they developed a number of services, including Adopter Voice, which supported the development of regional adoption agencies.

Scott is a Voluntary Public Relations Director for the Haven Hub – Suicide Prevention and Peer Support in Ireland, and provides representation for the local service.

Currently Scott work at Adoptionplus, and develops and coordinates training, is a trainer himself, also adoption panel member, adoption reference group member (DfE), and is the founder and co-host of “The Adoption & Fostering Podcast” and “The No Borders Podcast”.

Al Coates MBE – Director

Al and his wife Paula adopted three children in 1999 and went on to be Foster Carers for a local authority for two children. They went on to adopt them in 2008 and their sibling in 2013. Their children are now 27, 25, 24, 16, 15 and 9. 

Al left his career in construction in 2008 to be a stay-at-home parent and subsequently trained to be a social worker qualifying in 2013. Since then Al has worked within Fostering and moved to be an Independent Social Worker in 2015 specialising in fostering, supporting adoptive parents and managing challenging and aggressive behaviour. 

Al has also campaigned to raise issues in relation to adoption and continuously worked with the Department of Education (DfE) since 2015 in various voluntary roles. Al also trains across the sector including police, youth justice, education, social care and families in a broad range of associated issues and is an NVR advanced practitioner. 

Since qualifying Al has also been an active blogger and is the founder and co-host of “The Adoption & Fostering Podcast” and “The No Borders Podcast”.

We firmly believe in partnership working, and we love working with other individuals who are able to provide really special skills to their training and who we can all relate to. We insist on speaking in a language that everyone can understand, to ensure that everyone who attends an event with No Borders can make sure they are able to put into practice what they have learnt. We are delighted to be working with the following, who we really class as a part of the No Borders family:

Ruth Whiteside – Resilience, ACEs & Emotional Intelligence (EQ)

My twenty years’ experience in the classroom and working with fellow senior leaders led me into the realm of Emotional Intelligence (EQ) – understanding why we think, feel and act the way we do. EQ is an entirely learnable, measurable skill.

Currently, I work with colleagues in the teaching profession, as well as police, youth workers, social workers and health professionals, to explore how harnessing the power of emotional intelligence can help us to support our children and young people, particularly those who have experienced adversity and trauma. 

Elaine Nicholls – Non Violent Resistance

I’m passionate about delivering Non Violent Resistance (NVR) informed parenting support that meets the needs of families where children have experienced significant developmental trauma.

Adding NVR into the therapeutic parenting mix, I found myself, as an adoptive parent, better able to be the regulated and the empathic parent I’d been struggling to be. Our home became a place where everybody feels safe and valued.

I am a qualified NVR practitioner, and I live with Emma, my partner of twenty years, and our two teenage daughters.

Sophie Parkinson – Education

My teaching career was forever altered after I went through the adoption process and learned about alternative parenting approaches, which I knew would benefit many other children in the classroom.

Now a parent of two children aged 8 and 9 with SEN, I’ve continued to question current behaviourist approaches in schools. Last year I conducted a case study of a mainstream school using a holistic therapeutic approach as part of an MA in Education.

I am currently exploring teachers’ views on trauma-informed approaches for a Doctorate in Education.

Hetty Verhagen – Therapeutic Social Worker

Hetty Verhagen is a therapeutic social worker and trainer who has worked with children, young people and families affected by adoption, kinship care and fostering for the past ten years.  

Hetty’s training and therapeutic work is informed by Dyadic Development Psychotherapy (DDP), the Nurtured Heart Approach and a bio-psycho-social understanding of trauma.  

Hetty is particularly interested in body based approached to working with the consequences of traumatic experiences. Hetty is a parent of two teenage children and has experience as a foster carer. Hetty aims to make her training sessions engaging and fun, no matter how challenging the subject of the session may be.

Jo Garofalo – FASD

Jo began her career as a singer and dancer, both on TV and the Stage, before becoming an adoptive parent – after a long wait to adopt from Morocco. Jo and her husband adopted again a few years later, and have spent more than a decade creating and developing “Voice in a Million”.

Jo has also spent the last decade accessing assessments and more recently a diagnosis for FASD for her daughter, who is now 11.

As a result, Jo has developed her knowledge around FASD and has been able to develop a training programme for agencies and parents that has encouraged professionals to think differently.

Jo hopes that the training will allow parents and carers to understand more about FASD and how they can support their children.

No Borders Training LTD, is a registered company.

Registered address:

Mill View, Plessey Hall Farm, Plessey Hall Land, Shotton Lane, Cramlington, NE23 1JH

Email: NoBordersTraining@gmail.com

Registered Company number: 13464878

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