Funding to help rebuild lives of young people affected by sexual abuse and rape

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A £25,000 grant has been awarded to Lincoln family counsellors to help young people whose lives have been blighted by sexual abuse or rape.

The Naomi Watkins Counselling Hub (NWCH) off Crofton Road, which has been awarded the money by the Bromhead Medical Charity, will use it to provide free counselling to more children and young people.

It is hoped that the chance from them to access professional help will allow them to fully explore their traumatic experiences and put them on the road to recovery and a brighter future.

NWCH’s co-founders Naomi Watkins and Alex Parkin said they are delighted to have been given the boost within the first six months of setting up their Community Interest Company and they are excited about making a difference to more young lives.

“We were massively thrilled to receive this grant. It will be used specifically for our Acorn Project. This means many more young people will have the opportunity to benefit from our help and hopefully start to feel better about themselves.

“We will offer these young victims a mix of pet therapy, sand tray therapy, play and counselling to help them to process their emotions, regain their confidence, feel safer and part of their community again,” said Naomi.

Lincolnshire Police recorded 738 sex child offences against young people (up to 18 years old) in the period April 2015 to March 2016 – that was a rise of 23% on the 598 recorded for 2014/2015.

Statistics also revealed 558 of the 738 offences (recorded for April 2015/March 2016) related to youngsters in the 0 to 14-years-old group. Of those, 88 out of a total of 112 were affected by “cyber-enabled” activity.

When looking at the overall statistics, around 50 crimes were perpetrated against children who were not old enough to attend primary school.

NWCH will use this grant to support children and teenagers between four and 18-years-old and will provide a minimum of 12 counselling sessions for each child/young person.

Alex Parkin added: “We were aware that there was a serious gap in free help for children and teenagers, particularly at the younger end of the scale and we knew that we were ideally placed to make a difference to those people’s lives.

“We have a team of 13 counsellors and we anticipate helping about 57 people a year.”

The Bromhead Medical Charity Secretary Steve Taylor said: “The trust was supportive of this application because this project is going to give assistance to children who have undergone traumatic experiences at a very early stage in their lives.

“Increasingly, this support is not available from the State and our Trustees felt it was very important that children, who have gone through dreadful experiences, should receive this counselling to give them the best chance to make the most of the rest of their lives.”

The NWCH also provides training for new and existing counsellors. As a not-for-profit organisation, it ploughs any “profit” from these sessions into a variety of projects to benefit the local community.

The Hub also provides support for both training and qualified counsellors, allowing them to both network and get supervision.

The Hub is having an open day on Tuesday, September 26, from 10am to 4pm.

People are encouraged to drop in and check out the facilities and talk to Naomi and her team about its wide range of services.

You can also visit the serve’s website for more information about counselling.