Sarah is a tireless innovator for excellence in safeguarding children, young people and  adults at risk. Her approach to safeguarding is unique in that it touches every industry and builds the solution around the needs of the workforce rather than offering a pro forma approach to creating safer cultures and safer working practices.

Using adventurous and cleverly creative methods to transform practice and organisations, she actively encourages a partnership approach so that she gives them a sense of ownership. She’s always very confident of the results.

She has had a fascinating career and her experience has taken her into a cross section of industry sectors, including the voluntary, private and public organisations.


Sarah started her business in 2007, determined to follow her dreams of using creativity, the arts and her drive to make a difference in protecting and safeguarding the vulnerable.

After completing an MA in Arts-Health she decided to leave her role with a Local Safeguarding Children Board. It was while studying for her MA that she developed her initial ideas for the business and the seeds were sown. She had no cash flow but buckets of determination, self belief and commitment to ‘safeguarding’ to drive the business forward.

Her company Athena grew from a lifestyle business to a team with associates. Two office moves, a building renovation, and employment of staff, all whilst pregnant. The birth of her daughter meant little time off. She managed by communicating daily with the team and customers and attended meetings and events, all with baby in tow!

From then she relentlessly pursued a path of learning to know all she could learn about business from marketing, conferencing, being an awesome networker, PR, sales initiatives, product development, contractual agreements, cash flow forecasts, web development and social media, public speaking, strategic direction, IT systems, managing growth, Athena’s USP, partnerships, branding, customer relationship management, and much more.


Sarah is currently studying at Lancaster University for her Postdoctoral Studies, researching ‘Creative arts based technologies for inter-agency working together for safeguarding young people’.

Proudly funded by The Economic and Social Research Council her studies are connected to the North West Doctoral Training Centre. On top of this, she has also undertaken a Masters degree in Arts-Health, gained a Social Work Degree and Diploma and has undertaken extensive training far too long to list!

Sarah’s professional and personal story is unique. She, as a result, is fiercely passionate when telling her story which has seen her move effortlessly from the role of social worker to business woman.

She is proud that Athena is successfully providing safeguarding consultancy and training services with care and creativity. Athena works very closely with organisations to ensure they are compliant and train their workforce to confidently safeguard children and adults at risk (vulnerable adults). They also ensure training is cost effective and fun, serving customers regionally, nationally and internationally ranging from the voluntary/third sector, public and private sectors.

In Sarah’s own words “Athena brings passion to safeguarding. Working with us transforms your organisation, guides your people and makes a safer place for children and adults at risk (vulnerable adults). Caring and creativity is at the heart of everything we do.”

Sarah is very proud that over the past four years she and the team at Athena have built up a loyal customer-base, not just here in the North West, but with clients across the country and have delivered a project in Europe.


Having watched her mother and close friend both lose their lives to ovarian cancer, business woman Sarah Carlick decided to take the bull by the horns and get herself tested for an abnormal gene which, if positive, could mean a greater risk of developing ovarian and breast cancer.

Sure enough results day came and Sarah, now in her 40s, had tested positive for the BRCA1 gene which, along with the BRCA2 gene, is prevalent in Ashkenazi women particularly of her age.

Taking inspiration from her mother who had been a very proactive volunteer co-ordinator for a Jewish charity in Manchester, so arming herself with the experiences she had seen her mother go through she decided to give what’s still considered a less talked about disease a much needed voice.

Due to have preventative surgery later this year, Sarah’s efforts haven’t gone unnoticed. She has attended a Target Ovarian Cancer campaign launch at The Houses of Parliament following on from the news that she had been made an ambassador for the cancer charity.

Perfect for the role, with the right attitude and determination to face the disease head on, Sarah appeared on Channel 5’s prime time news programme after word spread that Bury’s dynamic mum of one has continued with the lobbying group called the Tic-Toc committee that her mum set up before she passed way, created to raise funds and awareness of ovarian cancer.


Sarah’s vision is simply keeping people safe and therefore the purpose and objectives focus on making protection of the vulnerable real.


Sharing her innovative techniques and findings from her research, she connects with the audience on an emotional and reflective level. She brings to life the passion, determination and sharing of best practice that’s needed for safeguarding of children, young people and adults at risk.

She is truly an inspiration to women, particularly those that work in industry and is a fascinating speaker who always offers a dynamic twist to the sharing of information. In the past she has worked in strategic planning and training for local Safeguarding Adult and Children’s Boards and within the disability, integrated care, charity, local government and community care sectors.


A remarkable ambassador for Target Ovarian cancer, she is also chairperson for the Tick Tock committee. She happily steps up to the podium and has reached audiences that others failed to capture through sheer determination and grit.


She was awarded New Employer of the Year Award 2010 from Blackburn College.

She was a finalist in the Small Business Lancashire Red Rose Awards 2011 and proud winner of the Business Start Up 2010 at the North West Women in Business Awards.

Sarah was a finalist in the Business Women of the Year, Enterprise Vision Awards 2012 and a finalist in the Lancashire Young Director of the IoD North West of the Year Awards 2011 and deservedly she was winner of Extraordinary Women Entrepreneurship 2011.

She was awarded Northern Lights University Central Lancashire Business of the Month in September 2012.

Most recently she was a finalist in the Training and Coaching Enterprise Vision Awards 2014.


  • Safeguarding Governance, Risk Management and Safer Cultures
  • Safeguarding and technology
  • Creative approaches for workforce reform
  • Safer working practices
  • Safeguarding children and young people
  • Safeguarding vulnerable adults (adults at risk)
  • Success as a businesswoman


The Economic & Social Research Council North West Doctoral Training Centre awarded Sarah funding to undertake her PhD studies at Lancaster University. The research relates to the use of creative technologies for safeguarding children and young people with a specific focus upon smart phone applications. This research goes hand in hand with the business developments and is an unfolding path to where it will lead and whom it may reach.

Due to personal events she has recently restructured the business again moving to home based working for greater flexibility, increased cash flow / profits and smarter more efficient ways of working. This doesn’t affect customer experience and allows more time and space for her research.

Her future plans are to continue to do what Athena does so well and continue to expand its customer base. Her research will inevitably open new doors to conference speaking, professional profile, writing for national publications work in Europe and new business products and developments.